ABN Amro ends a dirty cash row with a 480 million euro deal

Photo: EPA

The popular Dutch bank ABN Amro announced it had agreed a deal worth some 480 million euro to settle a scandal which involved allegations in illegal activities including money laundering, Reuters reported. It is expected that the agreed amount will weigh down on the bank’s first quarter earnings report. ABN Amro said in a statement it had agreed to pay a fine of a total of 300 million euros and 180 million euros as disgorgement reflecting "the seriousness, scope and duration of the identified shortcomings" in combating money laundering.

The Dutch prosecution service said in a statement its investigation was ongoing and that three former board members, who it did not name, had been identified as suspects said to be "effectively responsible for violation" of the anti-money laundering act.

Danske Bank said its Chief Executive Chris Vogelzang, who had previously served on ABN's executive board, was resigning after being targeted in a Dutch money laundering probe. The investigation into ABN started a year after fellow Dutch bank ING paid a record fine of 775 million euros to settle a similar case. Although the ING settlement stated that no bank managers would be prosecuted, a Dutch court in December last year ordered a criminal investigation into the role of former CEO Ralph Hamers in the affair after all.

Prosecutors in September 2019 accused ABN Amro of failing to spot accounts involved in money laundering, failing to end relations with suspicious clients and failing to report such transactions to the relevant authorities. "This settlement marks the end of a painful and disappointing episode for ABN Amro," Chief Executive Robert Swaak said. "The lessons we have learned from this experience drive us in our continued effort as gatekeepers to achieve a safer society and a financial system that meets the highest standards of integrity," he said. ABN said it deeply regretted the matter and "that it has fallen short in the fulfilment of its role as gatekeeper aimed at combating money laundering."

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