March 5, 2019 / 10:46 AM / 6 months ago

Dutch bank stocks, Austria's Raiffeisen fall on money laundering report

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in two Dutch banks and Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) fell on Tuesday after media reports about a money laundering network alleged to have channeled billions of euros from Russia.

FILE PHOTO: ABN AMRO bank is seen amongst other buildings in this aerial shot of the Zuidas area in Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares/File Photo

The share price falls followed a report by a collective of European news outlets called the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which was based on what it said were leaked documents detailing transactions worth more than $470 billion sent in 1.3 million transfers from 233,000 companies.

Reuters has not been able to confirm any of the details contained in the OCCRP report.

Austrian anti-corruption prosecutors said they were examining money-laundering allegations after receiving a complaint against unknown parties, a spokeswoman said when asked about the media reports.

RBI, whose shares were down 13.9 percent at 1350 GMT, said it “is not familiar with the concrete allegations and does not have any further information on the content of the complaint”.

“RBI takes the allegations in the media very seriously and is conducting an internal investigation,” the bank said in an emailed statement.

Dutch magazine de Groene Amsterdammer, part of the OCCRP collective, alleged that Dutch banks ING, ABN Amro and unlisted Rabobank had facilitated several hundred million euros in improper payments.

Majority state-owned ABN Amro, which last month said it had stepped up its efforts against money laundering and other criminal activities, said the reports were not related to its business now.

Its shares were down 1.9 percent at 13:50 GMT.

ING, whose shares were down 2.8 percent at 13:51 GMT, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ING paid a record $900 million fine in September for failing to spot criminal use of its accounts for years.

Rabobank, which was fined 1 million euros in September for failing to catch money laundering by clients, said it would not comment on specific transactions. It said it adheres to international anti-money laundering rules.

RBS, which acquired a business from ABN Amro in 2008, said it could not comment on specific transactions but took allegations of money laundering “seriously”.

“We are committed to combating financial crime and money laundering in line with our regulations and have controls and safeguards in place to identify, assess, monitor and mitigate these risks,” RBS said in a statement.

TROIKA DIALOG

The OCCRP report alleged that the transactions originated from Troika Dialog, once Russia’s largest private investment bank, and involved Lithuanian banks used to channel the funds to banks in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, among others,

Russia’s Sberbank, which bought Troika Dialog in 2011, said it was not involved.

“The facts laid out in the article neither have, nor had, any relation to Sberbank,” a spokeswoman said. “Sberbank group companies did not take part in supporting these operations.”

An offshore shell company at the center of the operation enabled Troika to transfer $4.6 billion into and $4.8 billion out of the system between 2006 and early 2013, the OCCRP report said.

Among the counterparties on these transactions were major Western banks including Citigroup, Raiffeisen, and Deutsche Bank, it said.

Citigroup declined to comment on the report.

Meanwhile Deutsche Bank, whose shares were down 1.2 percent at 13:52 GMT, said it always cooperates with authorities, and could not comment on specific transactions with other banks.

“It is first and foremost the task of the respondent bank to check its customers,” a spokesman said. “In our role as a correspondent bank, we have only limited access to information about the customers of the respondent bank.”

Reporting by Helen Reid and Sinead Cruise in London, Bart Meijer in Amsterdam, Micheal Shields and Kirstin Knolle in Zurich, Tom Balmforth and Tatiana Voronova in Moscow, Andreas Framke in Frankfurt; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith

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