A large Dutch bank announces: ‘No more professional soccer clubs as new clients’

One of the largest Dutch banks, the Rabobank, announced that it will
not accept professional soccer clubs as new clients anymore. It is estimated that 80% of the Dutch professional soccer clubs are currently clients of the Rabobank and they can stay as such.

The reason for this announcement and internal decision is based on the higher risk of money laundering; corruption; and fraud by professional soccer clubs. The ground for this internal policy is found in a regulation and instructions, formulated by the Central Bank of the Netherlands. These instructions are interpreted from a factsheet of The Nederlandsche Bank. In our opinion, the more recent instructions in the report ‘Good Practices: tax integrity risks by clients of banks’ by The Nederlandsche Bank is also relevant.

In The Netherlands, this report brings the discussion into play that banks are placed in the position of the legislator and/or the tax authorities. The policy is given that banks must implement internal regulation in which company structures of clients will be checked for tax avoidance and tax evasion. In our opinion, this is not the meaning of the separation of powers.