Dutch bank ABN Amro is under investigation for money laundering and terrorist financing, amid allegations it failed to carry out adequate due diligence and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.
The Netherlands’ Public Prosecutor is also investigating inadequate or slow reporting of suspicious transactions at the bank. ABN Amro, in which the Dutch government has a majority stake, has said it will fully co-operate with the investigation.
This is the latest in a number of high-profile cases involving Dutch banks. Last year, the Netherlands’ biggest lender ING was fined €775 million for compliance failings that allowed hundreds of millions of euros to be laundered, while Rabobank was fined $368 million in the US for laundering Mexican drug cash. This year, it was hit by a further €1 million fine in Europe for poor anti-money-laundering (AML) controls.
Several Dutch banks, including ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank, Volksbank, and Triodos, recently announced a technology collaboration to identify suspicious transactions that could be linked to money laundering. The banks, which jointly handle nearly €10 billion in payment transactions a year, plan to set up a standalone operation to examine their vast pool of transaction data.
Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing into Danske Bank over €200 billion in suspicious transactions from Russian, Latvian, and other sources, which passed through the Danish bank’s small Estonian branch.
Deutsche Bank was a correspondent bank, and is under investigation for handling €160 billion of those transactions. The Danske scandal may be the biggest money laundering scandal in history.
In September, Swedbank admitted to failings in its AML, KYC, and risk assessment procedures in the wake of a $135 billion scandal involving high-risk, non-resident money, again passing through Estonia. The scandal may prove to be linked to the Danske case, suggesting it may be part of a concerted Russian/former-Soviet operation to pass dirty money through Baltic states and European banks.
On the other side of the world, managers at three branches of state-controlled Banco do Brasil are being investigated for their alleged role in an $48 million money laundering scheme involving the payment of bribes by engineering and construction firms for contracts with state oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro.