ING settles Dutch money laundering case with $900 million

Koos Timmermans

European financial services group, ING said it has agreed to pay a fine of €675 million and €100 million for disgorgement.

The bank said it has fully cooperated with the DPPS investigation. It has also undertaken an internal investigation, the results of which have been shared with the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). The investigations established serious shortcomings in the execution of policies to prevent financial economic crime (FEC) at ING Netherlands in the period investigated (2010-2016).

The identified broader shortcomings include: CDD files missing or being incomplete, assignment of incorrect risk classifications, the failure to have the (periodic) CDD review process in order, failure to exit business relationships in a timely manner, insufficient functioning of the post-transaction monitoring system, classifying clients in the wrong segments and insufficient availability of qualitative and quantitative human resources.

During the period investigated the execution of ING Netherlands’ FEC policies resulted in the termination of ING’s relationship with thousands of clients. Nevertheless the shortcomings identified resulted in clients having been able to use their bank accounts for, inter alia, money laundering practices for a number of years.

ING sincerely regrets that as a result of the above shortcomings ING Netherlands did not adequately fulfil its role as gatekeeper to the financial system, helping fight financial crime. “As a bank we have the obligation to ensure that our operations meet the highest standards, especially where it comes to preventing criminals from misusing the financial system. Not meeting those standards is unacceptable and ING takes full responsibility,” said Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING.

“We take this very seriously. We are taking a number of robust measures to strengthen our compliance risk management and support a strong risk culture and will be making further improvements to ensure we can play a full role in contributing to protecting the integrity of the financial system,” said Vincent van den Boogert, CEO of ING in the Netherlands.

In the investigations no evidence or indications were found of (former) employees having actively cooperated with clients who used or may have used banking services for potential criminal activities nor indications of (former) employees having received personal gains. The identified shortcomings that occurred in the period investigated are not attributable to some individual persons but rather collective shortcomings at all responsible management levels, i.e. business, compliance and control functions.

ING has initiated measures against a number of (former) employees in senior management positions who had a broader responsibility for the safeguarding and execution of FEC CDD policies and procedures in the Netherlands. These measures include holdbacks of variable remuneration and suspension of duties. In the context of today’s announcement the members of the Executive Board of ING Group, in consultation with the Supervisory Board, find it appropriate to forego their variable remuneration over 2018.

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