Ex-money launderer says ING should lose licenseJuly 9, 2012
OFAC, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, settled with ING last month for violations of economic sanctions against Cuba and Iran. Former self-professed money launderer and financial crimes analyst Kenneth Rijock says that he is “totally disgusted” by how weak the settlement is, especially considering that trade with Iran could support its attempt to become a nuclear aggressor. Mr. Rijock asserts that given the seriousness of the violation that ING should have lost its license outright.
Taken together with sanctions expert Eric Ferrari’s exasperation over OFAC’s settlement with Genesis Assets Managers over Iran sanctions, and our own frustration with the Department of Justice settling with Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (IICG) over Muslim Brotherhood funding, we are once again seeing the painful results of the Obama administration’s settlement strategy. Whereas Bush sought to investigate, raid, and shut down nefarious Islamic charities and sanctions violators, Pres. Obama has opted for a softer, gentler, smoother, weaker, less risky, more politically correct path.
Surely, the feds are balancing economic and political considerations by choosing not to revoke ING’s license. But if we were truly serious about stopping Iran dead in its tracks, would we really have let ING off with a slap of the wrist?
From Mr. Rijock’s blog:
I am totally disgusted with the latest OFAC settlement; $619m fine levied against ING bank, clearly their biggest yet, for the most egregious sanctions violations seen in a long time. Look at what the bank admitted to doing:
(1) Omitting references to Cuba in payment messages sent to US financial institutions.
(2) Creating and providing fraudulent bank endorsement stamps, for use by Cuban financial institutions.
(3) Use of corporate entities to obscure the identities of sanctioned clients.
Frankly, the fine is insufficient; why haven’t any of those bloody bank officers who committed these violations been arrested ?
Finally, the only punishment that bankers will understand is the revocation of a US bank license; anything else is not a sufficient deterrent. Helping Iran to evade sanctions, and probably facilitate its WMD and ballistic missile programmes, through purchasing of equipment and supplies; helping all the sanctioned jurisdictions make purchases ? Let the punishment fit the crime; take away something meaningful, Mr. Regulator, please. Not another financial slap on the wrist. That is the cost of doing business.
your public servants at OFAC
Shut down their New York offices for five years.