The Public Prosecution Service on Curaçao has imposed a fine of 38,000 euros on accountant giant KPMG for its share in the money laundering affair that last year cost ING 775 million euros.
The OM accuses KPMG of having facilitated a business on the island, banking at ING and suspected of laundering $ 322 million in the period from 2004 to 2014, in criminal activities. Venezuelan clients bought credit cards for years with the Curaçao company (lingerie and medicines), but in reality they were given US dollars, on payment of a commission.
The settlement with KPMG was announced on Tuesday night by the public prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor General’s Office on Curaçao. According to the Public Prosecution Service, KPMG prepared the annual accounts for the company from 2004 to 2009, but the auditors never checked the submitted data. In addition, KPMG is accused of never reporting the company’s sizeable “dollar activities” in the annual accounts, while the auditor was well aware of it. Nor did KPMG ever insist that the company mention the stealthy “dollar washing” in their annual reports. KPMG was thus guilty of “co-perpetrating forgery of documents” and complicity in “making incorrect tax returns.” The prosecution states that KPMG “has seriously neglected its gatekeeper function in this way”, which in turn means that the company has more than 1 million euro did not have to pay too much tax.
The money laundering of the company in question, the Caribbean Distributors Group (CDG), led to the OM, together with similar shadowy activities of three other ING bank customers, in 2016 to open the criminal investigation ‘Houston’, to negligent acts of the couch. ING never saw anything suspicious about the hundreds of millions of dollars that ran through their client CDG bank account. Last September, ING prosecuted criminal proceedings in this case for 775 million euros; the most expensive settlement ever agreed in the Netherlands.
That KPMG with a fine of 38,000 euros get away, explains the OM by stating that the culpable acts “dating from years ago”, that KPMG auditors the issue “in 2009 itself have investigated” and then all co-operation to the criminal law research. Moreover, the direct managers “have not been working for the KPMG organization for a long time.”
In addition to the fine of 38,000 euros, the OM also imposes a conditional fine of 88,000 euros on the KPMG. Should the auditors commit criminal offenses for the next two years, they must still pay this amount.
The Caribbean branch of KPMG was taken over by competitor EY at the beginning of this month. Since then there has been no KPMG branch on Curacao.