The $ 45 million transaction ING tried to make in 2014 to a subsidiary of Vnesheconombank, while that Russian State Bank was on an American sanctions list, was a “clerical error”. ING reports this on Wednesday in a response to the part of the revelations from the FinCEN Files that have been made in the media in recent days.
According to the media reports, ING might try to avoid sanctions with the transaction. Now, respond-ING that a sanctioned party is not a party to the transaction,” and that’s a reference to a party “mistakenly had been included in one of the system fields for the transaction.” ING claims that the error was discussed with the relevant US authorities in 2014 and that no further action had been taken.
The Russian state bank Vnesheconombank was on the US sanctions list because of the Russian annexation of Crimea. In August 2014, ING wanted to transfer $ 45 million to Vnesheconombank, VEB Leasing, but the transaction was blocked. A week later, it was possible to transfer the amount, but the bank left “VEB Leasing” out of the transaction. Bank of America, which checked the data, called this method in the leaked documents “an attempt to avoid sanctions”.
It was also clear from the FinCEN Files (2,600 documents leaked to the Buzzfeed News site) that Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich made over EUR 1 billion in transactions with ING Nederland through bank accounts that Deutsche Bank considered suspicious. ING did not respond to that case on Wednesday.
However, ING “as the gatekeeper of the financial system has an important responsibility to customers and society, and to protect against financial and economic crimes, and that it is the bank’s responsibility very seriously,” please. The bank also says that the fight against financial crime can only be successful if, among other things, banks and authorities join forces. “Its effectiveness will be improved by sharing information and cooperation”, says ING.