– For Immediate Release –
Dutch Financial System Faces Risks for Money Laundering Linked to Corruption, Violence in Africa’s Great Lakes Region
December 15, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) – Profiteers seeking to loot African countries and hide their ill-gotten gains abroad are utilizing holding companies in the Netherlands, warns a new advisory released today by The Sentry. Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Sentry’s advisory examines connections between corruption in Africa’s Great Lakes region—most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—and the financial system of the Netherlands.
The Sentry identifies in its report dozens of connections between Dutch nationals and companies and high-level, politically connected figures in the DRC and Great Lakes region, as well as numerous risk factors for money laundering and corruption.
Megha Swamy, the Deputy Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “The Dutch tax and investment structure allows legitimate international business to thrive. Nefarious individuals and networks looking to loot African countries, enterprises potentially linked to violence and human rights abuses, can also exploit these same structural advantages. Preventing abuse of the system by predatory enterprises is paramount to maintaining the integrity of the Dutch financial sector.”
Michelle Kendler-Kretsch, an Investigator at The Sentry, said: “The Dutch financial sector faces several points of exposure to risks of corruption and money laundering coming from Africa’s Great Lakes Region. Dutch authorities should urgently investigate and publicly highlight these threats to the nation’s financial and business sector, and encourage intelligence sharing with private sector partners. Dutch banks and other financial institutions doing business in the Netherlands need to be on high alert for suspicious transactions to and from the Great Lakes region, and ensure they take appropriate action, such as closing accounts, as warranted.”
The advisory spotlights five case studies that demonstrate possible ties between corporate entities in the Netherlands and corruption in the DRC. Two case studies focus on the corporate holdings of foreign nationals who are members of a high-level Congolese public official’s inner circle and who have extensive business networks across Europe and the Middle East. The other three case studies focus on major international companies that operate in the DRC and have large corporate structures in the Netherlands.
In tracing the links of global operations tainted by corruption allegations, The Sentry’s investigations found connections between holding companies and their beneficial owners from the Netherlands to the Great Lakes region, and including Panama, the Marshall Islands, Malta, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Gibraltar. The obfuscation techniques exhibited in the advisory’s case studies involve multiple layers of companies established in different jurisdictions.
The Sentry advisory urges a range of critical actions to identify, disrupt, and prevent abuse of the Dutch financial and corporate system by corrupt actors and politically-exposed persons (PEPs).
For Dutch banks:
For the Dutch government:
Read the advisory: https://thesentry.org/reports/
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, [email protected]
ABOUT THE SENTRY
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.