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UPDATE 1-U.S. Fed orders China's AgBank to boost oversight

(Adds that company could not be reached for comment, background on whistleblower lawsuit)

By Suzanne Barlyn and David Chance

Sept 29 Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country's top four banks, has been ordered by the Federal Reserve to improve its safeguards against money laundering, the U.S. central bank said on Thursday, citing "significant deficiencies" in the New York branch.

The Fed gave the Chinese state-owned bank, known as AgBank, 60 days to come up with a comprehensive plan to ensure it was in compliance with regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

An AgBank spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

In May, a Manhattan federal judge revived a whistleblower and gender discrimination lawsuit against AgBank by Natasha Taft, a former chief compliance officer in its New York office.

Taft claimed that AgBank drove her to quit in June, after 10 months on the job, after she had reported possible anti-money laundering violations to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn and David Chance; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Paul Simao and Richard Chang)

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