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‘Top Rabobank has known about poor money laundering since 2014’

NRC reports this on the basis of its own research. The newspaper spoke with twenty (former) employees of Rabobank and other involved parties with knowledge of the bank’s anti-money laundering policy.

“If you brought in a farmer from Germany with three tons of cash, you got a pat on the back,” says a former banker of a branch in the east of the Netherlands. “No question was asked about the origin of the funds.”

Screening

Each Rabobank branch has its own license. The head office in Utrecht therefore left the screening of customers to the local banks.

Despite the arrival of the Wwft, the law that ensures that banks investigate their customers and the origin of funds, bonuses were based on how many customers you brought in, the employees say, and not on how thoroughly you checked their background.

In the run-up to the arrival of the Wwft, the management had an internal accountant investigate the question of how the customer files were kept at the banks.

Destructive opinion accountant

The auditor’s opinion was damning, three people directly involved told NRC. Fewer than ten banks received a pass. At all other banks, supervision of possible erroneous money flows was inadequate.

The outside world was unaware of the problems for a long time. In 2019, the bank announced that DNB had imposed a fine. A new fine followed in 2021 and the supervisor started an official criminal procedure.

Penalty sum and approach to money laundering

Rabobank received a warning from DNB in ​​November 2021 that it has two years to eliminate the shortcomings. A penalty of 500,000 euros was also previously imposed.

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At the beginning of 2022, Rabobank announced that it would appoint a separate director who will become involved in the fight against money laundering. The bank is also setting aside another 249 million euros to comply with anti-money laundering rules, the bank announced in February when the results for 2021 were published.

According to DNB, the bank is not yet doing enough to prevent money laundering. The millions invested now go towards clearing backlogs in customer surveys and monitoring transactions.

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