Dutch Banks, Investigators Begin Sharing Data on Organized Crime

By Koos Couvée

The four largest lenders in the Netherlands have joined a new partnership aimed at clamping down on organized crime syndicates by following their money.

In a 6-page “covenant” published Tuesday, Dutch officials set out the legal basis for which investigators and compliance officers from ING, ABN Amro, Rabobank and De Volksbank will obtain data on suspected organized criminals and their professional enablers as part of a one-year pilot project, the “Serious Crime Task Force.”

Compliance officers from those lenders beginning next month will receive “targeted, limited information” on suspects from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, National Police, financial intelligence unit, or FIU, and Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service, then screen their clients and transactions to identify and flag potentially illicit assets.

Initial deliveries of information will pertain to around 200 suspects and their “brokers,” which officials defined as a “relatively small group of very influential” professional enablers with access to “logistical and financial systems.”

“Brokers usually remain out of the sight of investigators,” officials said. “By means of an overview of transactions it is possible to gain an insight into the people behind the money flows.”

Officials intend for the partnership to work similarly to the Terrorism Financing Task Force. The Association of Dutch Banks reported last year that banks flagged an additional 300 transactions as “unusual” during the first 12 months of the task force, which launched in July 2017.

The FIU found in August of last year that more than 60 percent of the transactions warranted further review by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor’s Office told ACAMS at the time.

The latest forum coincides with efforts by Dutch authorities to address lax compliance controls within financial institutions.

On Wednesday, ABN Amro, the third-largest lender in the Netherlands, disclosed that the country’s central bank ordered the lender to rescreen all 5 million of its retail clients for anti-money laundering purposes and warned that ongoing government investigations may end up costing the lender more than €100 million in penalties.

In September 2018, ING, the country’s largest lender by assets, agreed to pay a record €775 million penalty and disgorgement for failing to prevent criminals from laundering hundreds of millions of euros from 2010 to 2016.

Frank Diepenmaat, a financial crime researcher at Saxion University in Enschede, told ACAMS that Dutch authorities view banks as vulnerable to financial crime but also want to assist them in their efforts to weed out criminals.

“This is really going to be two-way traffic of information and shows the government also wants to put their money where their mouth is: to come up with a shortlist [of suspects] to tackle together,” he said.

The Dutch government also wants more industry participation in another pilot project, the Fintelalliance, which in its original setup enabled FIU analysts and compliance staff from De Volksbank to swap jobs for several months.

Contact Koos Couvée at

Topics : Anti-money laundering , Counterterrorist Financing
Source: Netherlands
Document Date: August 9, 2019