Famed for its excessive liberalism, the Netherlands has come under the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies around the world.
State-owned bank ABN Amro said it suffered a loss of 54 million euros in the first quarter. Okay, just losses. However, behind this figure is an unthinkable fine, because this financial institution must pay a penalty of 480 million euros for laundering dirty money!
In March 2021, the prosecutor's office informed the public that the bank was suspected of violating the вЂњ rules on the prevention of dirty money laundering and terrorist financingвЂќ
Back in 2019, the newspaper De Telegraaf found out that Dutch firms with accounts in ABN Amro participated in the transfer of 100 million euros in bribes transferred to the management of the Brazilian firm Odebrecht and political parties in South American countries. To avoid more serious consequences, the third-largest bank in the Netherlands last month signed a deal with the prosecutor's office, under which it undertakes to pay a high fine for money laundering.
According to the financial institution's reports, ABN Amro made a profit of 426 million euros in the first quarter. However, the obligation to pay a huge fine led to the fact that the bank closed the first quarter with a loss.
Because of the revealed scam with dirty money laundering, there were suggestions that the bank may not just pay a huge fine, but its management may be charged under criminal articles. The case dragged on, and only in March 2021, the prosecutor's office informed the public that the bank was suspected of violating the вЂњrules on the prevention of dirty money laundering and terrorist financingвЂќ. On the basis of the agreement, the bank agreed to pay a fine, contributing almost half a billion euros to the state.
When the first information, which sounded like a bolt from the blue, caused a loud scandal, the press secretary of the State Bank immediately issued a statement that ABN Amro would cooperate with the prosecutor's office of the country.
ING Bank was convicted of money laundering during 2010-2016
It's not the first time the Netherlands has been rocked by such scandals.
So, in 2018, another bank, ING Bank, was forced to pay an even larger fine вЂ” 775 million euros, as it was caught in money laundering during 2010-2016. And for ABN Amro, the case was not limited to just a fine. Back in November last year, amid this scandal, the financial service Finextra announced the reduction of ABN Amro 2 thousand 800 employees and a reduction in its costs by 700 million euros until 2024.
According to experts of Tax Justice Netherlands, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is on the fourth line in the world ranking of countries and territories detected in tax evasion. The organization called on the country's political parties to eliminate this precedent and wash away the shameful stain on the country's reputation.
The author of the published report, Arnold Merkies, spoke unequivocally:
вЂ” It is a shameful fact, but our country is the largest вЂњparadiseвЂќ for tax evasion.
It turns out that even the well-known Google for eight years вЂњpumpedвЂќ through the banks of the Netherlands 128 billion dollars!
In January of this year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte submitted to King Willem-Alexander the resignation of his cabinet. This decision was due to the unjustified actions of the state treasury department in relation to families receiving child benefits. Rutte admitted that his cabinet was responsible for the scam, which resulted in 10,000 families being driven to financial ruin.
Another scandal: in February of this year, the shocking news was heard in the public space вЂ” the data of millions of Dutch people who registered for vaccination against coronavirus was leaked to the Network. Several people were arrested in this case. The illegal actions were revealed as a result of a journalistic investigation by the RTL Nieuws TV channel: with the help of journalists, the public learned about the trade-in personal data of citizens of the country in large numbers вЂ” addresses, phone numbers, numbers of public insurance systems that store data for coronavirus tests, as well as sources and contacts of Dutch people who are at risk of COVID-19 infection.
Another scandal, no longer a financial one, rocked the country is a TV show in which children asked questions about sexuality in the studio to fully naked adult men and women.
There are also many problems in the system of interethnic relations. In February, windows were smashed at a Jewish cemetery in Rotterdam, and graffiti was daubed on a Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam. These incidents are a reminder of the rise of anti-Semitism in a kingdom that until recently prided itself on its tolerance. The Dutch Minister of Justice, Ferdinand Grappenhaus, stated that вЂњhatred of Jews is returningвЂќ in the country.