Almost 18 months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one-third of banks and other financial institutions in the Netherlands have not done enough to track down and freeze the assets of people and companies on the sanctions list, according to research by Dutch central bank DNB.
The bank looked at 31 financial institutions and found they had been unable to track down all the bank accounts and other assets which should have been frozen.
“If we look at the transactions which are easy to find then we are talking about 95%, which is not bad,’ DNB regulatory chief Maarten Gelderman told current affairs show Nieuwsuur. “But there is one bank which has only identified 60% and that needs improvement.”
In particular the spelling of names has caused problems, Gelderman said. “You can spell Putin as Poetin. Do you check both? The worst performer here only scored 24%.”
Names are spelled five different ways on the sanctions list: Dutch, English, Russian, Ukrainian and “other” – which lists alternatives.
The Dutch banking association VNB told Nieuwsuur in a reaction that in the main the work is being done well but there are challenges in the speed and complexity of the operation.
The Netherlands has currently frozen €644.5 million in Russian assets but the figure has hardly gone up since spring 2022.
In total, 1,473 people and 207 companies and organisations are on the sanctions list.