Banks must accept cafes which sell cannabis and marijuana as clients, says finance minister Wouter Bos.
The minister fears that if these businesses, known as coffee shops, are refused bank accounts they could turn to the criminal circuit for financial services, reports Friday’s Volkskrant.
At present all the banks are turning down these cafes as new customers and terminating existing accounts even though they are legitimate businesses, the paper says. Coffee shops are licenced by local authorities and allowed to sell small amounts of marijuana.
Although Bos cannot force banks to accept coffee shops as customers, he has asked the anti-cartel authority NMa to investigate the situation because it seems that the banks are acting collectively, says the Volkskrant.
ABN Amro bank, which is now nationalised, was the first to cut its relationship with coffee shops some 12 years ago, says the paper. It was followed by the Rabobank. And now that the Postbank is being integrated into ING, it too is refusing to accept them as clients.
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