19 Feb 2016
Spanish law enforcement arrested five directors of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) on Wednesday following a raid involving 100 police at the bank’s Madrid offices. Today, Spanish police announced they have arrested a sixth executive of the bank.
The probe into ICBC, codenamed Operation Shadow, was carried out by Spanish Police, the Spanish Tax Agency and Europol, who investigated ICBC’s alleged money laundering through China for a criminal syndicate involved in smuggling, tax and excise fraud and labour exploitation.
A spokesperson from ICBC stated that the bank is cooperating with the investigation: “Strictly implementing anti-money laundering regulations, and strictly operating within the law and regulations, have always been our fundamental operational and management principles”.
Operation Shadow builds on Operation Snake last year, which investigated a criminal organisation that supposedly laundered €40m in criminal assets through ICBC, as well as importing goods from China without declaring them to Spanish Customs, therefore avoiding import and tax duties. The probe involved raids of 60 premises in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, resulting in 30 arrests, of which most were Chinese nationals.
The Head of the Financial Intelligence Group at Europol, Igor Angelini, claimed that the arrests of these finance professionals as part of Operation Shadow “completes the picture” of the activities of the criminal group, and suggested that further arrests could still be made.
These arrests follow allegations of financial crimes against the Bank of China’s Milan branch and accusations against China Construction Bank Corp for deficiencies in money laundering compliance.
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