Rabobank Questioned in U.S. About Money-Laundering Controls

The U.S. Justice Department has asked Rabobank Groep’s U.S. unit for information about its money laundering controls.

Rabobank is cooperating with the requests, the Dutch bank said in its earnings statement Thursday. The bank also said it had concluded an agreement with New York regulators to strengthen its compliance with U.S. bank secrecy law.

The June 30 agreement with the New York Federal Reserve and the financial services department gives the bank 60 days to submit a plan to strengthen oversight of efforts to detect and prevent money-laundering across U.S. operations. The agreement states that it does not prevent any federal or state agency from further action affecting the bank.

The U.S. is investigating whether Rabobank ignored signs of money laundering by clients at branches of its California banking unit near the Mexican border, people with knowledge of the matter said in January.

The criminal investigation is being conducted by Justice Department prosecutors in Washington and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, said two people who asked not to be identified. The probe could trigger additional enforcement action against Rabobank, which is still being monitored by the Justice Department after admitting wrongdoing in a 2013 settlement over interest-rate manipulation.

Rabobank, a cooperative based in Utrecht, built its North American operations through acquisitions starting in 2002. Rabobank NA has about 120 locations in California, catering mainly to farming and agriculture.

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