ING Bank N.V. Forfeits $619 Million for Illegal Transactions with Sanctioned Entities

 On June 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice announced  that ING Bank N.V. (ING Bank), headquartered in Amsterdam, has agreed to forfeit $619 million for knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) and for violating New York state laws by illegally moving billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned Cuban and Iranian entities.  The bank has also entered into a parallel settlement agreement with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). 

According to the court documents, starting in the early 1990s and continuing until 2007, ING Bank violated U.S. and New York state laws by moving more than $2 billion illegally through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Cuban and Iranian entities subject to U.S. economic sanctions. ING Bank eliminated payment data that would have revealed the involvement of sanctioned countries and entities, including Cuba and Iran; advised sanctioned clients on how to conceal their involvement in U.S. dollar transactions; fabricated ING Bank endorsement stamps for two Cuban banks to fraudulently process U.S. dollar travelers' checks; and threatened to punish certain employees if they failed to take specified steps to remove references to sanctioned entities in payment messages. 

ING Bank's actions caused unaffiliated U.S. financial institutions to process transactions that otherwise should have been rejected, blocked or stopped for investigation pursuant to OFAC regulations. 

ING Bank agreed to forfeit $619 million as part of the deferred prosecution agreements reached with the Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney's Office. The fine is the largest ever against a bank in connection with an investigation into U.S. sanctions violations.