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Dutch police detain two former employees of bailed out SNS Reaal

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 13 Feb 2013 13:42 GMT
Author: Reuters
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AMSTERDAM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Dutch authorities have detained two former employees of nationalised bank and insurer SNS Reaal on suspicion of bribery, fraud and money laundering, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The two, taken into police custody on Tuesday, include Buck Groenhof, the former head of SNS property finance, two officials said.

Investigators searched the homes of the suspects, the second of which is an unnamed woman who is also being questioned, a statement issued by prosecutors on Wednesday said.

"SNS Reaal confirms that it has reported a crime with prosecutors against a former board member of SNS property finance. The reasons are preliminary results of an internal investigation into possible conflict of interest," SNS Reaal said.

Another five employees at the bank were suspended as part of an ongoing, internal investigation, said a bank official who asked not to be named.

Groenhof and his attorney did not immediately respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment. SNS Reaal declined to give additional details.

The government nationalised SNS Reaal two weeks ago in a 10-billion-euro (${esc.dollar}13.5 billion) rescue because of continuing losses at the bank's property finance operations.

The chief executive and chief financial officer of the SNS Reaal group both quit at the time and have been replaced with outsiders.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem's decision to nationalise SNS Reaal sparked a public outcry because of the cost to taxpayers. Subordinated bondholders and shareholders have said they will fight the nationalisation.

Last month, SNS Reaal said former clients of its property finance arm were being investigated by the country's tax and financial crimes agency, but gave no details.

SNS Reaal this week postponed the publication of its annual results to April 18 from Feb. 14, citing the nationalisation.

Dijsselbloem said earlier this month he would look at whether those responsible for the mismanagement of SNS Reaal could be held accountable. (Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger and; Anthony Deutsch; Additional reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Mark Potter)

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