Trust offices, which manage letter box companies in the Netherlands, are not doing their job properly, according to the Dutch central bank.
The central bank looked into 10 trust offices and concluded that only two were completely above board.
Four lost their licences, two were fined and two others are the subject of further investigation to assess if their managers are ‘suitable and trustworthy’.
The central bank said the results of its investigations are worrying. Trust offices used poor arguments to support their decisions to accept certain clients and had little concrete knowledge about the real origin of the assets they were managing.
Trust offices are subject to special supervisory laws and are regulated by the central bank.
The Netherlands has come in for considerable criticism for its encouragement of trust offices and letter box companies.
A report by research group SEO last year stated the Netherlands has some 12,000 multinational holding companies, of which 75% are based at trust offices. These holding companies generate between 8,800 and 13,000 jobs – or around one job per company.