Netherlands’ Largest Bank Admits: “ING Clients Used Their Bank Accounts for Money Laundering Practices for Years”
Over the last few weeks, many large financial institutions have been investigated and charged with helping facilitate money laundering. Financial crime prosecutors from the Netherlands have charged the Dutch bank ING with violations, and a $900 million dollar fine because the financial institution unwittingly helped facilitate money laundering. The Dutch police explain its “impossible” to really estimate how much money was actually laundered through sketchy accounts and unusually large transactions. However, Margreet Frohberg the lead prosecutor of the case explained in an interview that “hundreds of millions of euros” were illegally transferred.
Moreover, Frohberg explains 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 transgressions took place between 2010 and 2016 and some large “unusual” payments stemmed from a firm called Veon (formerly Vimpelcom). Veon is also paying a separate fine of around $795 million to the US for money laundering charges as well. ING has admitted to the financial infractions in response this week, stating:
“The shortcomings identified resulted in clients having been able to use their bank accounts for money laundering practices for years”, ING explained.
Too Big to Jail & Too Big to Fail: No Evidence of Individual ING Banks Knowingly Aiding the Money Laundering
The news also follows the recent $150 billion dollar money laundering probe aimed at Danske bank, Denmark’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 has detailed it will pay the $900 million but has explained that no individual ING banking institution was aware of the violations taking place. Dutch prosecutors have also confirmed that they had “found no evidence” of ING staff knowingly aiding the money launderers. However, ING’s Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said ten employees were either dismissed or saw their bonuses taken away.
“We have made unacceptable mistakes,” Hamers explained to the press this week. “This calls for drastic measures, which we have taken,” he added.
2018 is becoming eerily similar to the years following the economic collapse of 2008, where the world saw the banks pay hundreds of billions in fines, but no bankers were jailed. That year the US Department of Justice and Eric Holder promised bankers would be jailed for the economic crisis that plagued the world. Of course, the globe found out later that the bankers and the political nobility were ‘too big to jail.’ Many people believe the current Danske probe that also involves quite a few more financial giants, and this week’s ING money laundering fines clearly show the economic elite have no problems with paying petty fines, because to this very day the banking giants are still ‘too big to fail.’
After responding to the $900 million in fines for money laundering charges, the Dutch bank ING also detailed that it does not expect to be charged with fines by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US.