ING subsidiary involved in funneling billions from Russia: Report
A Polish subsidiary of Dutch bank ING, ING Bank Slaski, for years helped customers channel suspicious money out of Russia, Financieele Dagblad, Trouw and research platform Investico report based on secret documents from the United States Treasury. Dutch bond traders Tristane Capital and Schildershoven Finance helped Russian customers launder billions of rubles using ING Slaski for these transactions, according to the newspapers.
In a confidential report dating from 2017, the American money laundering authority FinCen warned that a network was set up in Moscow to launder tens of billions of rubles. The money laundering happened through “mirror transactions”, in which securities were simultaneously bought in one currency and sold in another. This network was run by four Russians with offshore companies. They used Tristane Capital and Schildershoven Finance to perform these transactions. The American authorities called the Dutch bond traders “key players” in the report, according to FD.
The Dutch bond traders initially banked at Deutsche Bank in their work for the four Russians, but in 2013 they switched to ING Slaski, according to the newspapers. The American document showed that the Polish branch of ING facilitated at least $656 million in payments to companies that formed part of the money laundering network in 2014 and 2015.
Tristane Capital and Schildershoven Finance have since been sold to other owners. The new owners told FD that they know nothing about laundering money for Russian clients. Former directors and shareholders declined to comment to the newspaper.
Two years ago, ING signed a settlement agreement with the Public Prosecution Service, in which the bank was fined 775 million euros for negligence in the prevention of money laundering. Since then, the bank has taken steps to improve controls.
An ING spokesperson did not want to comment to NOS about the American report. “It is our policy that we do not make statements about individual customers or transactions,” the spokesperson said. But he added that the transactions FD, Trouw and Investico reported on happened before the settlement with the Public Prosecution Service.