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15 Jun, 2023 05:12

Spelling errors slowing down EU state’s seizure of Russian money  

Dutch banks got lost in translation tracking down accounts slated for blockage
Spelling errors slowing down EU state’s seizure of Russian money   

A third of banks and other financial institutions in the Netherlands have failed to track and freeze Russian assets due to spelling mistakes in the surnames of account owners, the Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation (NOS) reported on Tuesday, citing a survey by the Dutch Central Bank. 

After examining 31 financial institutions, the country’s central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), discovered that a third of the lenders could not trace banking accounts and other assets belonging to Russians that have been blacklisted in the EU over the conflict in Ukraine. 

In particular, the Dutch central bank attributed the failure to identify Russian accounts slated for blockage to spelling mistakes in the names of account holders, the NOS reported. 

For example, in English, the last name of the Russian president is spelled “Putin,” whereas in Dutch it is spelled “Poetin,” the broadcaster noted. “The worst party only finds 24% in such cases, so they really have to improve that,” said the DNB’s director of supervision, Maarten Gelderman.

“These are really kindergarten mistakes. In the sanction regulations, the name of the sanctioned person is often spelled in five ways, so in English, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian and then possibly an extra spelling because this has been handled poorly before,” Heleen over de Linden, an expert on economic sanctions, told the NL Times.

The Netherlands has blacklisted 1,473 individuals and 207 entities including Russia’s central bank. Currently, the country’s government has seized a total of €644 million in Russian assets. More than €20 billion belonging to Russian private individuals have been frozen across the EU.

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