Tuesday 24 September 2019

Rabobank ditches football clubs as clients because of corruption risk

Rabobank’s headquarters in Utrecht. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank has decided not to take on any more professional football clubs as clients because of the risk of ‘money laundering, corruption, fraud and other issues’, the NRC said on Tuesday.

The paper has seen an internal memo to staff which states ‘these clients would appear to present unacceptable risks’. As well on the ban on clubs as clients, bank staff have also been told they must not join club boards or take on any supervisory roles ‘to avoid a conflict of interest’.

Rabobank, the paper points out, is the bank for 80% of country’s professional clubs and also sponsors several football clubs through its regional offices.

For example, Telstar’s stadium is named the Rabobank IJmond Stadion, while the bank sponsors ADO Den Haag’s youth teams and VVV and RKC have Rabobank business lounges for supporters.

The bank declined to comment on the claim but did say it would be ‘very reticent’ to take on new clubs. That, the spokesman said, stemmed from 2017 report by the Dutch central bank which warned about the increased risk of corruption in football.

The NRC said the bank has already tried to ditch a couple of clubs as clients because it did not want to be associated with their owners. For example, the bank wanted FC Den Bosch to get a new bank when it was about to be taken over by Georgian oligarch Kakhi Jordania.  The deal was squashed by the Dutch FA.

Rabobank is also blocking a potential investment in Roda JC by Mexican property tycoon Mauricio de la Vega, the NRC said.

In 2012, Rabobank stopped sponsoring professional cycling teams because of the continuing doping scandals.

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