Ninety-three-year-old Gerda Bekker is not the only person to fall foul of the Wid – the acronym given to the law which apparently requires everyone with a bank account to hand over a copy of their passport and signature.
In order to clamp down on terrorism and money laundering, the banks want every account holder to prove (again) that they are who they say they are. Hundreds of very old men and women are being told their accounts will be closed unless they come to their local bank branch with valid ID.
You may have had the same account for 50 years and your passport may have expired in 1972 but you could still be a terrorist or a money launderer.
The banks’ treatment of clients like these is a remarkable contrast to that of the real money launderers. Yesterday, it transpired that they can keep their ill gotten gains with no questions asked if they confess all to the tax office and pay a pittance in back taxes.
And today we are told that the Dutch have €27bn in ill-gotten gains stashed away in foreign banks – of which some €8bn is just over the border in Belgium. Doubtless, these foreign banks and tax offices are just as dedicated to weeding out money laundering and terrorism as their Dutch equivalents.
Next time, Gerda, you know where to take your money.