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ING Italy investigated over alleged money laundering: source

MILAN (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Milan have begun a formal investigation into alleged money laundering involving Dutch bank ING Groep NV’s Italian business, a source close to the matter said.

ING had no immediate comment on Tuesday on the investigation, which was launched after prosecutors received requests for assistance from other European countries, where dozens of people had reported online scams, the source added.

Those being investigated by Milan prosecutors were carried out using various online accounts and the stolen money ended up in accounts opened at ING in Milan, the source said.

Last year ING, the Netherlands’ largest financial services provider, admitted criminals had been able to launder money through its accounts and agreed to pay 775 million euros ($900 million) to settle the case.

Milan prosecutors had already notified the Bank of Italy, which had carried out its own inspections in addition to the prosecutors’ initial investigations, the source said.

The Italian central bank, which made checks from October until the start of 2019, has told ING that it is not allowed to take on new customers in Italy after failing to prevent money laundering transactions through its accounts.

In the settlement last year, Dutch financial crime prosecutors said ING had violated laws on preventing money laundering and financing terrorism “structurally and for years” by not properly vetting the beneficial owners of client accounts and by not noticing unusual transactions through them.

Reporting by Emilio Parodi, writing by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Alexander Smith