Minister Hoekstra denies that Finance protected DNB at money laundering affairs

Minister Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) thinks it is "justifiable" and "valid" that his officials interfered with DNB's answers from regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) to questions they themselves asked about ING's money laundering affair.


Minister Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) thinks it is "justifiable" and "valid" that his officials interfered with DNB's answers from regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) to questions they themselves asked about ING's money laundering affair.

NRC wrote Monday that Hoekstra and the top of DNB coordinated the reaction to the money laundering affair of ING last September.

The newspaper, which traced the story after appealing to the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wob), stated that the minister kept DNB out of the wind in this way. Hoekstra disputed that image Tuesday in the Lower House during Question Time. "There were clarifying questions from the ministry to DNB," said the minister.

Hoekstra then gave the House the impression that DNB operated completely independently in the exchange of information. The House would receive "further notice" as soon as the questions asked by the ministry had been answered, wrote the minister on 11 September last year.

However, what Hoekstra did not mention at the time is that at that moment there was already a draft letter with DNB's answers to the department.

Working method affects independence

DNB's member of parliament Joost Sneller believes that this working method affects the independence of DNB. "If you contribute to draft letters up to three times, you give the impression that there is more interference with the independent supervision than we should want", he said in the House on Tuesday.

PvdA member Henk Nijboer was also critical and wondered whether Hoekstra had "fooled" the House.

The minister denied those allegations. After DNB and the ministry shared the draft letters, "clarifying questions" were asked from the Ministry of Finance. "I think it makes sense for the ministry to ask all sorts of critical questions," says the minister.

He thereby rejected the suggestion that asking questions and waiting for the answers would have been only for the stage.

"The regulator is strictly independent, but it is a body that falls under my ministerial responsibility", Hoekstra summarized the dilemma. "It was not about a trifle here, so I think that it is extraordinarily accurate to ask officials at the sentence level, what is it, defensible."

ING made settlement for record amount

At the beginning of September, a record settlement of 775 million euros was made with ING because the bank systematically did not have the supervision of money laundering and fraud by its own customers between 2010 and 2016.

At the time, a lot of attention was paid to the gatekeeper function of banks and how they could be better and more rigidly implemented in the future. The role of DNB, the regulator of the financial sector, in the affair also remained underexposed in the parliamentary debate.

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REF: https://www.nu.nl/economie/5738880/minister-hoekstra-ontkent-dat-financien-dnb-beschermde-bij-witwasaffaire-ing.html

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