Moroccan charity faces account termination due to ING money laundering rules

AMSTERDAM - ING wants to close the bank account of the Najiba Foundation, which raises money for earthquake victims in Morocco. On Friday, the Islamic charity said it had collected more than 900,000 euros in donations. Now this venture is on the verge of collapse, as the foundation is said to be relying on shaky administration and an unreliable accountant, the Financieele Dagblad (FD) reports. 


The first step taken by the charity's chairman Mourad Baddaou is to hire lawyer Jasper Hagers of Fennek Advocaten. The latter is working with lawyer Lisa Jie Sam Foek to ensure that the donations arrive in Morocco and are not lost. And that's with a deadline. 


Because ING announced that the bank account of Baddaou's foundation would be terminated on October 28, 2023. The reason is that the Najiba Foundation is not complying with banking regulations designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. 


Investigations by FD revealed that there may be several incidents that make it difficult for ING to consider the Najiba Foundation as valid. For example, the foundation never filed approved financial statements with the Chamber of Commerce. Previous charity projects such as Project Eid ul Adha with donations of €273,000 are not listed there. In addition, the foundation works with accountant Chris T., who is known to be a suspect in a multi-million dollar fraud involving coronavirus funds. 


According to Hagers, however, these unfortunate incidents were said to have been discussed with ING. "An improvement plan has been put in place, which the foundation is now implementing. In addition, Najiba has asked to talk about ways to improve, but ING is not responding," the lawyer told FD. 


Jie Sam Foek said that if the bank closes the account, “it will mean the end for the foundation. But it's even worse for the people of Morocco, who now need all the help they can get," the newspaper wrote. 

ING, however, has not yet commented on the incident because it involves a single customer. 


According to FD, if the two parties do not reach an agreement soon, summary proceedings will soon be initiated in the Amsterdam District Court. 

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