Banks face 'integrity risk from football sector'

AMSTERDAM • The Dutch central bank (DNB) has warned that financial institutions need to do more to guard against corrupt practices when dealing with clients from the football sector.

The financial regulator said yesterday that an investigation it carried out last year had concluded that financial institutions ran much larger "integrity risks" when dealing with clients from the football sector and certain other sports.

The warning comes in the wake of bribery and match-fixing scandals that have rocked the world's most popular and wealthy sport, toppling the leadership of global governing body Fifa.

The DNB said that banks should "apply a higher risk classification" to clients from football or its periphery and urged institutions to monitor more closely transactions between football clubs or involving the management of international soccer organisations.

The regulator said that 17 out of the 19 banks and corporate services providers that it surveyed had no specific risk management measures in place for dealing with sports clients, creating a risk "knowingly or unknowingly" of becoming an accessory to money laundering.

Transactions of particular concern involved the player transfer market, where a lack of transparency made it easy to conceal extra costs. Banks should also look at the source of the cash when wealthy individuals buy clubs, the DNB said.

The investigation did not look for specific instances of money laundering because it was focused on risks posed to financial institutions themselves.

Other sports also presented a heightened risk of corruption, it said, particularly those involving large sums of money, highly paid players or a closed culture.

The entertainment industry posed similar risks, the DNB added.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Banks face 'integrity risk from football sector''. Print Edition | Subscribe