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ING To Pay $900 Million For Failing To Prevent Financial Crime

Prosecutors detailed several examples where ING accounts were used for crimes. (file photo)

Dutch bank ING has agreed to pay fines and other payments of 775 million euros ($900 million) after admitting “serious shortcomings” in executing policies to prevent financial crime, including bribe payments by an international telecommunications provider to an Uzbek company.

"Clients for years were able to make use of ING bank accounts for criminal activities pretty much undisturbed,” Dutch prosecutors said in a September 4 statement.

The Amsterdam-based bank said it regretted that its mistakes let customers use their accounts for criminal activities such as money laundering and corrupt practices between 2010 and 2016.

The bank was fined 675 million euros and also ordered to pay a 100 million euro “disgorgement” payment to make up for not spending enough on staffing for implementation and execution of customer due-diligence policies and procedures over the six-year period.

The investigation by Dutch authorities found no evidence that any ING staff had helped customers who may have used banking services for potential criminal activities.

Prosecutors detailed several examples where ING accounts were used for crimes.

Among them was international telecommunications provider VimpelCom that "transferred bribes worth millions of dollars via its bank accounts with ING to a company owned by the daughter of a former Uzbek president."

The statement referred to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

VimpelCom, which has changed its name to VEON, in 2016 agreed to pay almost $800 million to settle bribery claims in the United States and the Netherlands after investigators said the bribes were paid to a Gibraltar-based shell company controlled by Karimova.

Seperately, three former executives from the Stockholm-based telecom giant Telia, which used to be known as TeliaSonera, went on trial in Sweden on September 4 in a high-profile bribery case also involving Karimova.

The three defendants are accused of paying $350 million to Karimova in return for a mobile-phone license in Uzbekistan and for the "protection" of the Uzbek government.

With reporting by Bloomberg, the BBC, and AFP
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