Disciplinary law: no violation of ING banker's oath with money laundering case, but with salary CEO Hamers

With regard to the money laundering problem, the penalties that ING had handed out internally to employees and former employees are sufficient in the eyes of the Disciplinary Law. There was therefore no need for a reason to additionally punish various executives and supervisory directors of ING with a professional ban.

The Disciplinary Law concludes that after a thorough investigation there are ‘no indications’ that ING employees have seriously violated the bankers’ oath: “In other words, it has not been shown that the persons investigated have crossed the disciplinary threshold.” However, if new information about this emerges in the future, the Disciplinary Law does not rule out a new investigation.

Shortly after ING concluded a record €775 million settlement with the Public Prosecution Service (OM) at the end of 2018 for years of shortcomings in preventing money laundering at the bank, the Bank Disciplinary Court opened an investigation into possible violations of the bankers’ oath. Via an appeal on the website Leeuwonworthy.nl, more than 200 reports were received about ING, in which complaints were also made about an earlier plan from 2018 to significantly increase the remuneration for CEO Hamers.

The eventually canceled plan to increase Hamers’ remuneration may well be a breach of the bankers’ oath. A complaint is therefore being prepared against three ING employees, the Disciplinary Law reports. The Disciplinary Law does not disclose who these are in the ruling, which is anonymized as the institution usually does.

There was still some tug-of-war between the researchers and ING, because the bank would not give the names of nineteen employees who had been sanctioned internally. This ranged from refunding bonuses to other or no features. In the end, ING handed over the information.

At the time, CEO Ralph Hamers, who was responsible for this, now works as a top man at the Swiss UBS. The Public Prosecution Service must reconsider the decision not to prosecute him by order of the Hague Court of Appeal. It is still not clear whether a case against Hamers will actually be started.

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