(Updates with details, background, shares)
AMSTERDAM, March 22 ING is facing a
criminal investigation by Dutch prosecutors into its role in
money laundering and corruption in Uzbekistan that could result
in significant fines, a spokeswoman for the Dutch prosecutor's
office said on Wednesday.
"The bank is suspected of having failed to report, or
report in a timely fashion, irregular transactions," said
Marieke van der Molen, the spokeswoman for the Dutch financial
"The subject of the investigation is, among others, unusual
payments by VimpelCom to the company of an Uzbek government
VimpelCom, also based in the Netherlands, paid $795
million in February 2016 to settle its role in this
ING Spokesman Raymond Vermeulen confirmed that there was an
investigation, which was disclosed in the bank's annual report
published last week. He said the bank could not comment further.
"ING Bank is the subject of criminal investigations by Dutch
authorities regarding various requirements related to the
on-boarding of clients, money laundering, and corrupt
practices," the statement in the annual report said.
ING said it had also received requests for information from
U.S. authorities and was cooperating.
Vermeulen said the bank could not predict the outcome of the
investigation but it was possible it would result in significant
ING's shares were down 5.7 percent by 1004 GMT.
Analysts from KBW Bank said the market could be
overreacting, given that the share price move represented 2.3
billion euros ($2.48 billion) in market capitalisation -- larger
than the largest fine ever levied in such a case.
ING's involvement was disclosed publicly in documents filed
in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in
U.S. prosecutors said $800 million in bribes were paid to
shell companies owned by a high-ranking official in Uzbekistan
related to late President Islam Karimov.
The U.S. court documents showed that $184 million of the
payments originated from ING Bank.
In 2012, ING paid $619 million to settle U.S. government
allegations it violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and
several other countries.
($1 = 0.9271 euros)
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Muralikumar
Anantharaman and Jane Merriman)