SPAIN has launched an investigation into the European management of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Luxembourg as part of an investigation into the alleged laundering of hundreds of millions of euros through its Madrid branch.
It was revealed in July that Spanish prosecutors were poised to explore the role of ICBC Luxembourg in the alleged money laundering scheme following the arrest of seven ICBC executives in Madrid in February last year, including branch manager Liu Wei and the general manager of the bank’s European division, Liu Gang.
The Spanish High Court said on Monday it had approved a request from the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office to investigate ICBC’s European headquarters for the alleged crime of money laundering.
High Court judge Ismael Moreno ruled that ICBC’s Europe board must name a representative and a lawyer to be summoned to appear before the court.
“ICBC Luxembourg was aware at the time of the way ICBC Spain was operating, and the Luxembourg headquarters provided it with internal audit services,” the ruling said.
The Luxembourg unit of ICBC holds the lender’s European Union bank licence and is responsible for supervising the Madrid branch.
According to the court ruling, ICBC Europe could face a fine, asset seizures or dissolution if found guilty.