ABN Amro Reaches € 480 Million Anti-Money Laundering Settlement

ABN Amro has reached a settlement of 480 million euros with Dutch prosecutors over anti-money laundering breaches, following an investigation which also triggered the resignation of Danske Bank’s chief executive.

ABN said on Monday that prosecutors found “serious shortcomings in ABN Amro’s processes to combat money laundering in the Netherlands, such as customer acceptance, transaction tracking and exit processes. customers ”, and that he had a plan in place to improve his processes. .

The Dutch public prosecutor said that “various clients engaged in criminal activity have been able to abuse ABN Amro’s bank accounts and services for a long time”.

The € 480m settlement is made up of a € 300m fine and € 180m restitution, reflecting the savings the bank has made thanks to its inadequate controls. The problems arose between 2014 and 2020.

General Manager Robert Swaak said: “Unfortunately, I have to admit that in the past we have failed to properly fulfill our important role as goalkeeper. This is unacceptable and we take full responsibility for it. “

Three former board members of ABN Amro have been identified as suspects in an investigation by prosecutors. One of them, Chris Vogelzang, resigned from his post as CEO of Danske Bank in Denmark on Monday.

This decision is embarrassing for Danske, who brought in Vogelzang as a foreigner to clean up his own money laundering scandal, one of the largest ever uncovered.

Danske, who is under investigation by US authorities and faces a significant fine, has appointed its chief risk officer Carsten Egeriis to replace Vogelzang.

Vogelzang said he was “surprised” by prosecutors’ decision to name him a suspect, four years after his departure from ABN Amro, but stressed that this did not imply that he would be charged. He said he was “comfortable with the fact that I have handled my managerial responsibilities with integrity and dedication”.

He added: “Considering the particular situation in which Danske Bank finds itself and the close scrutiny of the bank, in particular regarding the fight against money laundering due to the still unresolved issue in Estonia, I don’t want speculation about myself to come into play. Danske Bank’s continued development path. Therefore, I think the only right thing to do is for me to go.

Vogelzang took over as Danske’s boss in June 2019, three months before ABN Amro disclosed the investigation by Dutch prosecutors.

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