ABN AMRO board of directors block research into claims of money laundering back in 2014
The ABN AMRO board of directors already knew about the problems with money laundering in 2014, but stopped a research project into this in collaboration with the Public Prosecution Service (OM) at the last minute. This was reported by the investigative journalist organization Follow the Money (FTM) based on confidential emails and documents.
In June 2014, ABN AMRO stopped a project to combat money laundering based on a big data study. Preparations for this had already been started for a year. Consultancy PwC was also involved in this. At the time, the bank's board of directors was headed by former VVD minister Gerrit Zalm.
According to FTM, then board member Caroline Princen emailed the OM a day before the internal investigation would start that concerns had arisen regarding privacy. Customer data would have been shared with external parties. Princen did not want the OM to include the results in a report. ABN Amro's involvement had to remain strictly confidential, according to the emails that FTM has in its hands.
Eventually, the OM launched a criminal investigation into ABN Amro for money laundering and terrorism financing in 2019. The bank was accused of not reporting suspicious transactions or doing so late and not properly screening its customers for suspicious activity.
Reports claim that the OM's investigation officially started looking into the role played by ABN Amro's former board of directors, under the leadership of Gerrit Zalm, in January 2021.