ING Bank says criminal investigation could lead to “significant” fines

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Dutch financial group ING Bank confirmed on Wednesday it is facing a criminal investigation by Dutch authorities, which local papers said was related to a bribery case in Uzbekistan.

The bank said the probe could result in “significant” fines and penalties.

Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper in the Netherlands said the investigation was linked to a Uzbekistan bribery case.

An ING spokesman declined to provide additional comment on the charges beyond that provided in the annual report published on Wednesday.

The bank said in the report that it was “the subject of criminal investigations by Dutch authorities regarding various requirements related to the on-boarding of clients, money laundering, and corrupt practices”.

It added that it had also received requests for information from US authorities and stated:

It is currently not feasible to determine how the ongoing investigations and requests may be resolved or the timing of any such resolution, nor to estimate reliably the possible timing, scope or amounts of any resulting fines, penalties and/or other outcome, which could be significant.

In 2012, in a separate development, ING was hit by the largest ever fine by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, the body that monitors breaches of trade sanctions, forfeiting $619m after the discovery that it had moved millions of dollars through the US banking system from the early 1990s through 2007 on behalf of sanctioned Cuban, Burmese, Sudanese, Libyan and Iranian clients.

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