ABN Amro settles Dutch money laundering case for €480 million

AMSTERDAM - ABN Amro has reached a settlement agreement of 480 million euros with the Dutch prosecutor’s office (OM) in connection with a length investigation into money laundering. A criminal investigation is ongoing into three former members of the bank’s board of directors.

The OM alleged on Monday that the investigation has shown that ABN Amro violated the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (WWFT) for many years and “on a structural basis”. According to the OM, the bank failed to intervene against money laundering, and it did not take sufficient actions against people who may have benefited from certain criminal activities.

“Because ABN AMRO fell seriously short of compliance with the AML/CTF Act, various clients engaged in criminal activities were able to abuse bank accounts and services of ABN AMRO for a long time,” the OM said. The office alleged that, “ABN AMRO should have observed that certain flows of money through bank accounts held at ABN AMRO possibly originated from crime. The bank failed to act upon this sufficiently.”

"As a bank, we do not merely have a legal, but also a moral duty to do our utmost to protect the financial system against abuse by criminals. Regretfully, I have to acknowledge that in the past we have been insufficiently successful in properly fulfilling our important role as gatekeeper. This is unacceptable and we take full responsibility for this.", the bank’s CEO Robert Swaak said in an official statement on the bank's website.

Through Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), OM previously “received concrete signals and indications” about dozens of the bank’s clients which showed the bank may have failed to perform its gatekeeper function.

As a result, an investigation was opened in 2019 when the bank was suspected of not reporting suspicious transactions in time, not carrying out sufficient customer due diligence, and failure to cut ties with suspicious customers in time.

The settlement includes a 300 million euro fine. The bank also surrendered 180 million euros in unlawful gains, the OM said.

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