ABN Amro accused of ignoring money laundering signals

ABN Amro World HQ
ABN Amro world headquarters in Amsterdam. December 7, 2006 (photo: Alix Guillard / Flickr). ABN Amro world headquarters in Amsterdam. December 7, 2006 (photo: Alix Guillard / Flickr)

The Belgian branch of ABN Amro ignored signals that controversial clients may be involved in money laundering and did not do any extra research into these clients because of such signals, Trouw reported on Wednesday based on internal ABN Amro emails the newspaper has in its possession.

According to the newspaper, this involves clients that even Mossack Fonseca - the company that forms the heart of the tax haven scandal in the - stopped doing business with. Mossack Fonseca reported suspicions of money laundering against at least one of them.

Israeli billionaire Daniel Steinmetz is one of the controversial clients of the Belgian branch of ABN Amro. He has been associated with money laundering for years due to his business partners and his brother, who was involved in a bribery and corruption scandal in Guinea.

Another client is Portuguese Helder Bataglia dos Santos, according to Trouw. He was charged with money laundering and forgery last year in a corruption scandal around the former Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates. 

In response, ABN Amro told Trouw that it does not make any statements about customers. 

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