Dutch bank ABN Amro NV is facing controversy over allegedly being involved in a money-laundering scandal. The irony is that the bank has been known for criticizing Bitcoin for being ‘risky’ despite being unable to monitor its own currency flows.
Dutch prosecutors are opening a probe into the state-controlled ABN Ambro Bank NV over its failure to report suspicious transactions. Its shares have slumped since the news broke, dropping some 10.3% which are levels not seen since its 2015 initial public offering. The bank’s bonds have also taken a hit, plummeting to a six-month low.
A Criminal Investigation
The criminal probe sees the bank accused of facilitating money laundering and failing to vet its clients. The exact details are still unknown, but Netherlands’ central bank has warned ABN that it must clean up its act. ABN promised in July to check more closely all of its five million retail clients. Financial Times is reporting that the bank is to triple its staff members to over 1,400 to better account for compliance and AML concerns.
However, such stories are nothing new in the Netherlands. In fact, last year another major bank in the country, ING Group, paid a fine of $900M for failing to properly stop money laundering. The fine was a record in the country.
Bitcoin Was ‘Too Risky’ for ABN Amro Though
The irony of all this is that banks often criticize Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for facilitating money laundering when the vast majority of such illicit activity is facilitated through banks. ABM Amro is clearly no exception. In fact, the bank was planning on launching a custodial BTC wallet but scrapped the idea due to Bitcoin being “too risky.”
Well, now it seems this has come back to haunt them. Increasingly, it’s become clear that this line of attack against Bitcoin is coming from the same institutions that launder money. Banks have also been woefully unable to protect their customers’ privacy either. At the end of the day, banks hate Bitcoin not because they want to ‘protect the public’ but simply because they see it as competition.
Why are banks really against Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.