Rabobank faces punishment over customer anti-money-laundering checks

FAN Editor
FILE PHOTO: The Rabobank logo is seen at its headquarters in Utrecht
FILE PHOTO: The Rabobank logo is seen at its headquarters in Utrecht, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Eva Plevier/File Photo

November 15, 2021

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch cooperative Rabobank said on Monday it had been ordered by the Dutch central bank to fix its customer due diligence practices and that it is facing a “punitive enforcement procedure.”

In a statement, Rabobank said it had received an instruction from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) on Oct. 12 to remedy deficiencies in its compliance with laws against money laundering. It said it was too early to say whether the procedure would result in a fine.

“These deficiencies mainly concern the execution, recording and outsourcing of client due diligence, transaction monitoring and reporting of unusual transactions,” Rabobank said in a statement.

The two other large Dutch banks, ING Groep NV and ABN Amro, each reached multimillion-euro settlements with public prosecutors over similar compliance failures in the past several years. Both banks were warned by the DNB about their weak enforcement of anti-money-laundering practices ahead of the settlements.

A spokesperson for the Dutch public prosecutor’s office declined comment on whether it is involved in the DNB procedure disclosed on Monday.

A spokesperson for Rabobank said the bank does not know whether prosecutors are conducting an investigation.

“It’s up to the authorities,” the spokesperson said. “We don’t know, we are not aware of (involvement by prosecutors) but we don’t know what happens next.”

In September 2018 ING admitted that criminals had been able to launder money through its accounts and agreed to pay 775 million euros ($900 million) to settle the case.

In April 2021 ABN agreed to pay 480 million euros over similar allegations it had failed to sufficiently monitor its customers’ transactions.

“We view the role of gatekeeper to the financial system as our commitment and joint responsibility to society,” Rabobank Chairman Wiebe Draijer said in a statement.

“We remain dedicated to, and continue to invest in our KYC (know your customer) program.”

(Reporting by Toby Sterling, Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer in Amsterdam; Editing by David Evans and Matthew Lewis)

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