ING can't close account of foundation raising funds for Morocco quake victims: court
ING is not allowed to close the account of the Najiba Foundation, the preliminary relief judge in Amsterdam ruled on Tuesday. The foundation has recently been raising money for the victims of the earthquake in Morocco. ING wanted to close the foundation’s account at the end of October because it did not comply with the rules against money laundering and terrorist financing. The foundation took the matter to court.
According to the judge, there are no “indications that the foundation is not (only) involved with charities, is engaged in money laundering, or exhibits other risky behavior.” The bank’s argument that transactions via Morocco are risky also does not apply because “Morocco is currently not a high-risk country,” the judge said. “The question arises in this context whether ING is not imposing too high demands on the foundation. After all, it is constantly harping on the increased risk that currently no longer exists.”
The court did indicate that the foundation has become too large to exclusively work with volunteers in the current manner. The large number of donations means the foundation needs to become a more professional operation, the court reasoned.
Several individuals helped the foundation raise money for Morocco, including comedian Najib Amhali. Together, they raised at least 900,000 euros in just a few days in September. The foundation is run by Mourad Baddhou.
“The Najiba Foundation is very happy that justice has been served,” said attorneys Lisa Jie Sam Foek and Jasper Hagers. “The court has also shown that the intentions of Chairman Mourad Baddhou are sincere and that the board is doing its utmost to professionalize the foundation even further.”
ING said it will study the judgment closely. For now, the bank did not intend to comment further on the case.
Reporting by ANP