Dutch bancassurer ING Group NV repeated that it could face “significant” fines due to a U.S. investigation

(Reuters) – Dutch bancassurer ING Group NV repeated that it could face “significant” fines due to a U.S. investigation of operations in countries which are under sanctions by U.S. authorities, such as Iran and Cuba.

The United States imposes economic sanctions and export controls on Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, viewing them as state sponsors of terrorism and limiting the scope for companies to do business there.

“We don’t know how the investigations in the U.S. will pan out and cannot estimate what the fines, if any, will be. Fines could be significant. We are co-operating fully with U.S. authorities,” an ING spokesman said.

The fine could be for several hundreds of millions of dollars, Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing a source close to the Dutch bank.

ING said in its 2010 annual report, published in March, that it was in discussions with the U.S. authorities, including the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and that fines, if any, could be significant.

A U.S. judge last August approved a $298 million settlement by British bank Barclays Plc over charges that it had violated U.S. trade sanctions by doing deals in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.

Credit Suisse Group AG , Lloyds Banking Group Plc and ABN AMRO have agreed to U.S. settlements ranging between $350 million and $538 million due to charges of violating U.S. sanctions


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