ING to pay $619 mln over Cuba, Iran sanctions
NEW YORK, (Reuters) - ING Bank NV agreed to pay $619 million to settle U.S. government allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and other countries. It was the biggest ever fine against a bank for sanctions violations, officials said.
U.S. authorities said ING moved $1.6 billion illegally through banks in the United States from the early 1990s through 2007 by concealing the nature of the transactions.
ING eliminated payment data that would have revealed the involvement of sanctioned countries and entities, according to authorities. The bank also told clients how to evade computer filters designed to prevent sanctioned entities from gaining access to the U.S. banking system. And it provided U.S. finance services to sanctioned entities through shell companies and misuse of an internal ING account.
Amsterdam-based ING said in a statement its banking unit took a provision in the first quarter to cover the penalty, and that it had taken steps to improve its compliance. It closed its representative office in Cuba in 2007 and terminated its relationships with sanctioned banks.
“The violations that took place until 2007 are serious and unacceptable,” ING Chief Executive Jan Hommen said in a statement.