Heaven's alive! Bankers giving back part of their bonus!! Whatever next ? Has the world gone mad ?
This story actually relates to those $80m in fines ABN Amro agreed to cough up recently to settle probes into lapses in its money laundering procedures in the US.
Basically, ABN staff in New York and UAE failed to properly report suspicious transactions, and are said to have concealed information about the true source of dollar-denominated funds sent from government-controlled banks in Libya and Iran. Having said this, there was no evidence to suggest that the transactions were in any way linked with terrorism and, ironically, most of the transfers were fairly routine in nature - a farmer in Iran, for example, who purchased a tractor. The bank uncovered what was going on itself, and has since spent a fortune ensuring that it can't happen again.
Anyway, ABN has been done, and the Dutch bank is now after blood. The company said in a statement that 'we are in the process of taking disciplinary measures, including terminations, against the employees involved'. In the meantime, the bank's Managing Board has confirmed that they will collectively pay back $1.2m of their 2004 bonuses over of the affair. Chairman Rijkman Groenink will return 40% of his wad, CFO Tom de Swann will hand back 30%, and four others have returned 20% of their payouts.
Finally, a bit of better news. A lost computer tape containing details on 2 million customers from ABN's mortgage unit in Chicago has turned up - over a month after going missing in a DHL facility. And it looks as if there's been no misuse.