Finance minister Wouter Bos told MPs on Thursday he had been prepared to give ‘political support’ to a merger between ABN Amro and ING banks early last year.
The approval was given at a confidential meeting on March 6 between Bos and central bank president Nout Wellink called to discuss the situation around ABN Amro, which had just come under attack from activist shareholder TCI.
At a second meeting a day later, which also included ABN Amro CEO Rijkman Groenink, Bos made it clear he would not intervene on behalf of the banks if a merger between the two biggest Dutch banks ran into trouble with the competition authorities.
After pinning its hopes on British bank Barclays as a merger partner, ABN Amro was eventually bought by a consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis and carved up between them.
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