As crypto asset transactions become common, related problems have been coming to the surface. Netherlands’ largest financial services provider, ING, is under money laundering issue due to the fact that they did not concern disobeyed a few of money laundering laws with no investigation on unusual transactions and certain accounts. ING clients used their bank accounts for money laundering practices for years.
Financial crime prosecutors of Netherlands imposed ING with violations and a $900 million dollar fine for engagement in money laundering. The Dutch police said that it is actually impossible to guess how much money was actually laundered through uncertain accounts and huge amount of transactions; however, the lead prosecutor of the case, Margreet Frohberg, stated that hundreds of millions of euros were illegally transferred.
Frohberg said the money laundering and financing terrorism have existed for years but ING did not consider seriously about transfers or scrutinized accounts with their full effort. As one example, Veon (formerly Vimpelcom) was taking a back for a large unusual transaction between 2010 and 2016. Veon also reimbursed $795 million to the U.S. for money laundering.
ING acknowledged the financial crime this week and is obliged to pay $900 million. However, no individual ING banking institution was aware of the breaches. Dutch prosecutors have also agreed that they found no evidence that ING staff knew about the money laundering. Nevertheless, 10 employees had dismissed or had deducted bonuses. Ralph Hamers, the chief executive of ING, said that ING made inappropriate mistakes and we deserve to take drastic actions.
2018 seems like a flashback of the economic collapse of 2008 when the world saw the banks pay hundreds of billions in fines but no employees were imprisoned. In 2008, the US Department of Justice and Eric Holder claimed that bankers will take responsibility of the economic crisis in jails if it affects the whole world but it is useless since bankers and the political figures were ‘too big to jail’.
Current Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, and ING’s money laundering reminded again that economic elites willingly pay fines but they are still ‘too big to jail’. ING also will pay $900 million in fines but it will not take any further responsibility by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S.
Author: Jieun Lee
Photo credit to: Olichel from CC0