ING Bank to pay $619 million settlement

June 12, 2012 at 4:01 PM

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said it settled an evasion of sanctions case with ING Bank for $619 million.

The Treasury said the settlement is the largest ever for the Office of Foreign Assets Control in a case involving a business evading sanctions policies.

Despite various sanctions in place, ING Bank's Wholesale Banking Division routed more than $1.6 billion through the United States, keeping the U.S. financial system open for "state sponsors of terror and other sanctioned entities," the department said.

The bank used several methods to avoid detection while circumventing sanctions, the department said, including omitting information on prohibited transactions, a step that was used by ING branches in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the department said.

In one example, "ING Bank's senior management in France authorized, advised in the creation of, and ultimately provided fraudulent endorsement stamps for use by Cuban financial institutions in processing travelers check transactions, which disguised the involvement of Cuban banks in these transactions when they were processed through the United States," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

In addition, the department said, a bank branch in Romania omitted details from a letter of credit involving a U.S. financial institution to finance the sending U.S. products origin goods to Iran.

"These cases give teeth to sanctions enforcement … and ultimately contribute to the fight against money laundering and terror financing," said New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

The settlement also involved circumventing sanctions with Burma, Sudan and Libya, the department said.

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