Chinese bank ICBC in Luxembourg, pictured, is at the centre of a Spanish investigation into the alleged laundering of millions of euros through its Madrid branch.
Photo: Delano archive
Chinese bank ICBC in Luxembourg is at the centre of a Spanish investigation into the alleged laundering of millions of euros through its Madrid branch.
According to a Reuters story published on Tuesday, the Spanish High Court on Monday greenlighted a request to investigate from the country’s anti-corruption prosecutor’s office.
Its report said that ICBC’s Europe board, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, must name a representative and lawyer to appear in court.
The ruling stated: “ICBC Luxembourg was aware at the time of the way ICBC Spain was operating, and the Luxembourg headquarters provided it with internal audit services”.
According to the court ruling, ICBC Europe could face a fine, asset seizures or dissolution if found guilty.
The investigation comes after Spanish police led a raid on ICBC’s Madrid branch on 17 February 2016, following a long-running investigation into alleged Chinese organised crime networks. Seven ICBC executives were arrested, including the general manager of the bank’s European division Liu Gang, Reuters reported.
It is alleged that Chinese clients of the branch accumulated large sums of money, some from avoiding duty on the sale of consumer goods imported from China.
Reuters wrote that Spanish judicial officials reported ICBC’s Madrid branch transferred about €225 million to China between 2011 and 2013, most of it for suspected criminal networks. It said that these networks also sent funds via money transfer firms in Spain and by smuggling large amounts of cash by road to other European countries from where it was transferred to China.
Luxembourg’s financial surveillance authority, the CSSF, was contacted by Delano on Wednesday, but declined to comment on the matter.