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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Dutch bank major ING fires chief financial officer amid €775 million scandal

Failure to vet customers to stop money laundering threatens to seriously damage lender's image
Prosecutors say ING for years failed to adequately implement a law aimed at preventing money laundering. AP

Dutch banking major ING on Tuesday axed its top financial officer following a scandal over the lender's failure to vet clients in order to prevent money laundering.

Koos Timmermans' head is the first to roll after it emerged last week that the Netherlands' number one bank paid €775 million (Dh3.32 billion) to settle a criminal investigation over money laundering.

Dutch prosecutors said the bank was guilty of "serious omissions in the prevention of money laundering".

Clients were able to use accounts "held with ING Netherlands for criminal activities for many years, virtually undisturbed," the prosecutors added.

In a statement, ING said: "Koos Timmermans will step down from his position as chief financial officer and member of the executive board of ING group and will leave the company."

The Amsterdam-based group added: "His resignation follows the announcement of the settlement regarding the shortcomings in the execution of customer due diligence policies to prevent financial economic crime at ING Netherlands."

The affair threatens to seriously damage ING's image and has prompted calls for the resignation of its top management.

The influential financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported on Monday that Amsterdam was considering dropping ING as its in-house banker over the issue.

"We deeply regret the shortcomings found and take this matter very seriously," said Hans Wijers, who chairs ING's supervisory board.

"Given the seriousness of the matter and the many reactions among stakeholders since the announcement ... we came to the conclusion it is appropriate that responsibility is taken at executive board level," Mr Wijers said.