Dutch bank ABN AMRO is facing additional money laundering charges that may well lead to cases against individual board members.
The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service recently added suspicions of “damaging money laundering” to a series of charges first filed against the bank in 2019, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf and a report from the NL Times.
The charge of damaging money laundering “means that the bank is suspected of not taking sufficient action against possible criminal acts by customers,” according to the NL Times. Prosecutors believe the bank knew of money laundering activities perpetrated by its customers but did not intervene.
ABN AMRO said in its 2020 annual report published last week that the public prosecution office informed the bank in 2019 that it was the “subject of a criminal investigation relating to requirements under the Dutch Act on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.”
The bank said compliance deficiencies being probed include “having client files in good order, timely reporting of unusual transactions and discontinuing relationships with clients in due time and related suspicions of culpable money laundering.”
In its report, ABN AMRO said it is cooperating fully with the investigation. While the bank would not speculate on the potential financial repercussions of the case, it noted the impact “can be significant” and “cannot be estimated reliably at present.”
Prosecutors might be developing a case to lay additional charges against ABN AMRO board members, the Dutch press has reported.
In 2018, Dutch authorities reached a $900 million settlement with global financial institution ING. That investigation began with money laundering charges similar to those lodged against ABN AMRO, then escalated to include damaging money laundering. In the ING case, a Dutch court called for a criminal investigation into the actions of the bank’s former CEO, Ralph Hamers.
In January, Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported Dutch prosecutors were investigating what role the ABN AMRO board played in allowing money laundering to occur through the bank, and that the investigation could lead to criminal charges against individual board members.