Welcome to This Week In Compliance: GAN’s weekly news roundup, where we curate the latest stories on compliance and anti-corruption to keep you informed. This week we ABN Amro settles money laundering charges in the Netherlands. Read the full story and more news below:
ABN Amro to Settle AML Charges for USD 574M:
Amsterdam-based bank ABN Amro announced a settlement with Dutch authorities of EUR 480M (USD 574M) on money laundering charges. The Netherlands' third-biggest bank is accused of failing to raise red flags on suspicious accounts and failing to report wary clients to the authorities. The probe into ABN began in 2019. The bank's CEO stated that ABN deeply regretted the matter and that the bank is committed to meeting the highest integrity standards.
Danske Bank CEO Resigns After Being Named Suspect in Probe:
The CEO of Danske Bank, Chris Vogelzang, announced his resignation on Monday, April 19th. The former CEO resigned after he became one of the subjects involved in a probe being conducted at ABN Amro, one of the Netherlands' largest banks where Vogelzang served at various senior positions between 2000 and 2017. The former CEO stated that “given the special situation Danske Bank is in and the intense scrutiny the bank is under” he did not want any personal speculations to get “in the way of the continued development of Danske Bank”. In 2019, authorities found that Danske Bank laundered billions of dollars between 2007 to 2015, in a case that has become infamous as one of the largest money-laundering scandals in history.
World Bank Lifts SNC-Lavalin Sanctions Imposed in 2013:
The World Bank, which imposed sanctions on Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalling Group (SNC) in 2013, announced an early lifting of all sanctions against the company. While the sanctions, which barred the company from participating in World-Bank contracts, were set for ten years, the World Bank lifted the sanctions after an assessment and monitoring process. SNC was debarred for bribing public officials in Bangladesh in a World-Bank funded project to construct a bridge in Dhaka. According to the monitorship, SNC has taken significant steps to improve its internal compliance functions, including separating its compliance investigation team from its audit team and a mandatory code of conduct certification for employees annually.
SEC Gives USD 50M to Joint Whistleblowers:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave USD 50M to joint whistleblowers who provided detailed documentation on a case that resulted in the return of millions to harmed investors. According to the SEC, the whistleblowers provided information on highly complex financial transactions and assistance during the investigation. This award marks a milestone as the second-highest in quantity issued since the launching the program.
Zuma's Legal Team Quits Before Trial:
Former South African President Jacob Zuma, who is set to face trial on corruption charges in a month, was abandoned by his legal team, who quit a month before the hearing takes place. Zuma faces counts of racketeering, corruption, money laundering, and more concerning an arms deal contract with French arms company Thales during his presidency. Zuma was being represented by Mabuza Attorneys, a law firm that withdrew from its contract. Mabuza Attorneys could not be reached for comments by Reuters.
U.K. COVID Contract Flagged for Corruption:
A contract for the procurement of COVID-19 related material by the U.K. government from February to November 2020 has been flagged for corruption. Transparency International (TI) U.K. flagged that companies with political connections were prioritized in the bidding process, harming the transparency of the pandemic response. TI U.K. is calling on Boris Johnson's government to disclose the names of the selected companies, which it has refused to do quoting 'commercial confidentiality'.