Top executive of Dutch bank ABN Amro steps down after being named in Panama Papers scandal

THE HAGUE (AFP) - A top executive on the advisory board of Dutch bank ABN Amro stepped down on Thursday (April 7) after being linked to the growing Panama Papers scandal, but without admitting any wrongdoing.

Two Dutch newspapers said Mr Bert Meerstadt's name had been mentioned in the vast trove of documents leaked on Sunday relating to a Panama law firm allegedly helping the rich and famous to hide assets offshore to avoid tax.

"Bert Meerstadt has decided to resign as a member of the supervisory board of ABN Amro Group with immediate effect," the third-largest bank in the Netherlands said in a statement.

Mr Meerstadt, 54, is a primary shareholder of the Virgin Islands-based Morclan Corporation, set up by Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca in 2001, said the Dutch dailies De Financieele Dagblad and Trouw.

The two papers were part of an international consortium of journalists which led the investigations into the scandal.

Mr Meerstadt said in a separate statement that because his name had been mentioned he had accelerated plans to leave the bank, saying: "I hereby bring forward my resignation to today".

"I want to avoid any negative consequences for the bank," said Mr Meerstadt, adding he would not comment on the reports.

Apart from serving at ABN Amro as a supervisory member, Mr Meerstadt is a former Dutch Rail executive director and serves as vice chairman of the supervisory board of Dutch distiller Lucas Bols, according to his CV posted on ABN Amro's website.