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ABN Amro admits Dubai fine ahead of IPO

|By TAP Staff| Dutch bank ABN Amro said it has paid fines to regulators in the Netherlands and Dubai over “serious shortcomings” in vetting clients and managing risk at its private banking operations. The statement comes a week ahead of the bank’s proposed IPO.

The Dubai investigation had put a shadow over the bank, which naturally had a bearing on the forthcoming IPO.

ABN said on Wednesday it has fired nine employees and will pay fines totalling around $1.3 million. In addition it has terminated relationships with around 80 customers.

“ABN Amro sincerely regrets these irregularities and will not appeal,” the bank said in a statement.

Fines by both regulators were modest because ABN Amro had cooperated and taken measures to resolve problems, they said.

The Netherlands’ central bank (DNB) fined ABN Amro 625,000 euros ($683,500) after concluding it had not properly screened clients in Dubai in line with anti-terrorism laws, and its head office had failed to properly monitor the Dubai operations.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said it had fined the Dubai branch of ABN Amro $640,000 for breaching anti-money laundering rules.

“ABN’s failings were widespread and exposed its business, and the DIFC [Dubai International Financial Centre], to a high risk of financial crime and money laundering,” DFSA said in a statement.

It said ABN did not properly monitor the activities of its private banking staff and ensure they were trained in anti-money laundering systems.

However, it underlined that it had not found that any actual money laundering took place.

The investigation in Dubai first became public after a March 11 report in Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper alleged the bank suspected employees in Dubai of misconduct.

On June 22, the bank said it had fired one employee for transferring $100,000 for a private banking client through his personal account to a third party.

ABN AMRO was nationalized during the 2008 financial crisis and has since reformed itself into a bank focused on the Dutch market. Its private banking operations, however, remain one of the top 10 largest globally.