Merkies demands openness on ABN Dubai fraud

5 November 2015

Merkies demands openness on ABN Dubai fraud

While the Bank of the Netherlands (DNB) and the Finance Minister speak of ‘irregularities’ and ‘incidents’ at ABN Dubai, Dubai’s own regulator, in publishing the explanation for the penalties it has imposed, presents an entirely different picture, one of systematic malpractice. DNB, in its capacity as the Dutch regulator, has also conducted its own investigation, but in contrast to the report by its counterpart in Dubai, its findings have been kept under lock and key, with DNB refusing to make any comment. SP Member of Parliament and finance spokesman Arnold Merkies wants the Dutch regulator to offer the same openness as does the Dubai authority.

In contrast to DNB, the Dubai regulator has published its decision. And its conclusions don’t mince words. There was much more to this than ‘incidents’. The regulator came across more than one undated blank business forms to which had been added in advance all the signatures necessary for approval of a transaction. Bankers from the branch in Dubai went on some occasions as far as to give false information, attempting to sweep unusual transactions under the carpet. ABN Dubai also in many cases failed to conduct any follow-up investigation into the sources of their clients’ wealth. In a few cases the bank itself did not know the true identity of the owner of the money in an account.

‘Fresh abuses are still coming to light at ABN Dubai,’ says Merkies. ‘The Dubai regulator paints a picture of systematic malpractice, while in the Netherlands all that’s talked of are ‘irregularities’ and ‘incidents’. There’s clearly something of a gap between these two outcomes, so I want to see complete openness as to how the Dutch regulator came to its conclusion. If they can provide openness in Dubai, then surely the same should be possible here.’

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