Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB), the Dutch subsidiary of Russia’s Alpha Bank, is under investigation by Dutch authorities for possible money laundering.
The Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), the Dutch anti-fraud agency, has launched a criminal investigation against the bank and raided its offices earlier this month.
“The criminal investigation is led by the public prosecutor’s office for serious fraud, environmental crime and asset management,” spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office Marieke van der Molen, tells GTR.
“The suspicion is that the bank failed to report unusual transactions or did not report those transactions in time, and [that it] did not carry out adequate customer due diligence. Both are required by law in the Netherlands.”
Responding to the announcement, ATB, which mainly provides international trade financing to companies, says the investigation focuses on a client portfolio that ceased to be part of the bank’s business some years ago and that it has since “completely changed” its strategy.
“There has been a significant investment made in bringing compliance and risk management standards in line with best practices,” says ATB in a statement.
“This process has been externally audited. We are subject to the normal cycle of prudential supervision as applied to all Dutch banks. Clearly, ATB has co-operated and will continue to co-operate with the investigation.”
ATB was also among numerous banks accused of funnelling some US$20.8bn out of Russia between 2010 and 2014. The laundered money went to banks in Moldova and Latvia and from there was spread into 96 countries across the world. The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which unearthed the scheme in 2014, dubbed it “the Russian laundromat”.
The bank was also entangled in a corruption scandal in which telecom company Veon, formerly known as VimpelCom, paid U$795mn to Dutch and US authorities in 2016 to settle claims of bribery in Uzbekistan. According to the US department of justice, accounts of ATB, amongst others, were used to pay the bribes by Vimpelcom.