ING Pays $619 Million to Settle Sanctions Evasion Case

ING pays $619 million to settle sanctions evasion caseBy DANIEL WAGNER

WASHINGTON (AP) - Dutch bank ING Bank NV will pay $619 million to settle charges that it secretly moved billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Cuban and Iranian customers, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

ING intentionally deleted information about thousands of transactions that would have linked the money to sanctioned parties in Cuba, Iran and other countries, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

The fine, a record for U.S. sanctions violations, defuses multiple criminal and civil probes of ING's practices between 2002 and 2007. It includes agreements that shield ING from further action by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Manhattan District Attorney's office, ING said. All were investigating ING's practices. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control had a parallel probe.

The U.S. imposes financial sanctions on political enemies to hinder their access to the global financial system. The goal is to choke off banks and other sources of capital, limiting their economic growth and their ability to buy weapons, food and other items available through global trade. Sanctions ensure that U.S. banks don't get involved.

"We have to have accountability and we have to have transparency in our international banking and finance systems so when those systems are circumvented intentionally, law enforcement has to step in," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Since 2009, Credit Suisse (CS), Barclays (BCS) and Lloyds (LYG) paid similar settlements related to allegations that they moved money for people or companies that were on the U.S. sanctions list.

ING appears to have routed about $1.6 billion illegally through U.S. banks, Treasury said. The actions occurred within ING's wholesale banking division, which executes transactions for other financial firms and helps them with financing.

The Justice Department's investigation grew out of a probe into a Dutch company that was exporting goods from the U.S. to Iran by way of the Netherlands. The company used ING to process payments, according to a separate criminal case brought by the Justice Department in 2007.

ING was charged with one count of knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate two major sanctions laws, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to regulate commerce in response to foreign threats; and the Trading with the Enemy Act, which restricts trade with Cuba.

The charges were outlined in a filing Tuesday in federal court for the District of Columbia. ING did not contest the charges, agreed to the filing "and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees," the Justice Department said in a release.

ING set aside money from its first-quarter earnings to cover the fine, the company said in a statement. It said internal investigations of the issue were under way before ING received inquiries from U.S. authorities.

Jan Hommen, CEO of ING Bank's parent company ING Group (ING), called the violations "serious and unacceptable." The government's filings "describe a very different ING than the company we're all working so hard for today," he said.

The bank said it has strengthened global risk controls since the illegal activity became known. Among other steps, it closed its Cuban office in 2007, created a central team focused on preventing and detecting money laundering and added compliance staff.

The fine will be divided equally between state and federal governments.

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i find it amusing that most of you simpletons take it for granted that the regime of hate and fearcurrently in power is telling you the truth about this.

June 14 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Secretly funneling money to Iran. Doesn’t this violate some of the homeland security laws? Maybe instead of imposing just a fine the officials and the CEO’s of ING should spend some time in Guantanamo. Who’s to say some of that money wasn’t used to fund terrorist organizations?? I mean it may sound like a harsh penalty but these people were helping our enemies. $619 million is nothing to these people when you consider that they probably made Billions doing this. Their crime and complicity is clear. They intentionally covered up their illegal actions. I think that they should be fined two dollars for every one dollar they made from their illegal activities and that the money collected should be distributed to the working American people. Just because this is a Dutch company doesn’t make them above the law.

June 14 2012 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

IT was a crime period An illegal act similar to treason.Those responsible fron low levl to CEO should be extended the hand of a criminal..Handcuffs and shackles.. No one has a right to skirt an obvious law(OBVIOUS LAW)..This was not an obscure hidden blue law..This was money laudering at the highest level..But we all know that laws for rich and poor/middleclass differ..If CEO of bank got cought with eightball he would get first offenders program with no record at completion, while black or even poor white would face minimum mandatory sentencing with judge sayig it is out of his hands..While our army is busy everywhere but here. maybe it is time for another revolution where we level the playing field for everyone

June 14 2012 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree, fine the crooked sob's dollar for dollar and send the responsible parties to jail. Why don't the prosecutors have enough courage to put people in jail, they'll just pay the fine with dirty money...really

June 14 2012 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It all about the money. They should have be fine $1.6 billion dollars. Dollars for dollars. Here again the Wealthy get wealthy. No one go to jail.

June 14 2012 at 11:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Probably drop in the bucket for what it made.

June 14 2012 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if i was in charge ....kick there a** out of the country and when they come calling just say can't hear you don't care.Thats sending a message

June 14 2012 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where does this money go too,,no answer,, this fine 619m is not bad for them they made billions and endangered our country and our soldiers,pay this fine and everything will be cool,its all about the money.

June 14 2012 at 10:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In spite of what the Supreme Court may think, Capitalism and Democracy are not synonymous. Corporations should have never been equated with the same rights as individual American citizens. The financial leverage that Corporations have compared to individual citizens and unions should have been obvious. The Supreme Court gave Corporations unfair advantage. You saw that financial power at work during the Wisconsin recall election. Republicans had an 8 to 1 spending advantage in that election. Banks and Corporations are in the business of making money for themselves. They have both been allowed input in the writing of laws regulating their activities. Does that make sense? Do you get the picture? The next election will be crucial in keeping the dream of America alive and pushing back against the 1% that want to reduce this country and the rest of the world to serfdoms. "Oh Say Can You See?"

June 14 2012 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

..Bet is was well worth $619 million to move BILLIONS....what a crock of ..BS... !

June 14 2012 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply