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Banks face integrity risk from soccer sector, Dutch regulator warns

AMSTERDAM, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The Dutch central bank (DNB) has warned that financial institutions need to guard more against corrupt practices when dealing with clients from the soccer sector.

The financial regulator said on Friday that an investigation it had carried out last year had concluded that financial institutions ran much larger "integrity risks" when dealing with clients from the soccer sector and certain other sports.

The warning comes in the wake of bribery and match-fixing scandals that have rocked the world’s most popular and wealthy sport, toppling the leadership of global governing body FIFA.

The DNB said ybanks should "apply a higher risk classification" to clients from soccer or its periphery, and urged institutions to monitor transactions between soccer clubs or involving the management of international soccer organisations more closely.

The regulator said that 17 out of 19 banks and corporate services providers it had surveyed had no specific risk-management measures in place for dealing with sports clients, creating a risk, "knowingly or unknowingly", of becoming an accessory to money laundering.

Transactions of particular concern involved the player transfer market, where a lack of transparency made it easy to conceal extra costs. Banks should also look at the source of the cash when wealthy individuals bought clubs, the DNB said.

The investigation did not look for specific instances of money laundering because it was focused on risks posed to financial institutions themselves.

Other sports also presented a heightened risk of corruption, it said, particularly those involving large sums of money, highly paid players or a closed culture. The entertainment industry also posed similar risks, the DNB added.

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