Sometime this week, the Dutch authorities revealed to the general public that the Netherlands’ largest financial services operator, ING, has breached several money laundering laws because they did not scrutinize unusual transactions and certain accounts. In the past few weeks, a good number of financial institutions have been investigated and charged with aiding in facilitating money laundering.
Dutch financial crime investigators from the Netherlands have charged the Dutch bank ING with violations, and a $900 million fine due to the financial institution unwittingly helped assist in the progress of money laundering. The Dutch law enforcement explained its “impossible” to really estimate how much money was actually laundered through sketchy accounts and unusually large transactions. Nonetheless, the lead investigator of the case, Margreet Frohberg detailed during an interview that “hundreds of millions of euros” were illegally transferred. In addition, Mr. Frohberg explains that the money laundering and financing terrorism has been taking place “for years,” and ING did not properly inspect these transfers or examined the accounts to the best of their ability. According to other reports, the money laundering crimes took place between 2010 and 2016 and some large “unusual” payments stemmed from a firm called Veon (formerly Vimperlcom). Also, Veon is paying a fine of its own of about $795 million to the US for money laundering charges as well. This week, the ING admitted to the financial infractions, and noted “The shortcomings identified resulted in clients having been able to use their bank accounts for money laundering practices for years.”
This news about the ING money laundering fine follows the recent $150 billion dollar money laundering probe aimed at Danske bank, one of Demark’s largest financial institution. According to reports, the probe also implicated Deutsche Bank and Citigroup over “allegations of massive money laundering flows from Russia and former Soviet States. ING noted that it will pay the $900 million fine but has made clear that no individual ING banking institution was aware of the violations taking place. Dutch prosecutors also confirmed that they had “found no evidence” of ING staff knowingly helping the money launders. Ralph Hamers, ING’s Chief Executive said that ten employees were either dismissed or saw their bonuses taken away. Mr Hamers said to the press this week, stating “We have made unacceptable mistakes.” He also added “This calls for drastic measures, which we have taken.” After responding to the $900 million fine for money laundering charges, the Dutch bank ING finally stated that it was not expecting to be charged with fines by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US.