Lithuania’s Financial Crime Investigation Service is working with Spanish authorities investigating possible money laundering at the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China branch in Madrid.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
© Reuters/Scanpix

Investigators raided the bank on Wednesday and arrested five of its managers, reported Bloomberg. A search has been carried out in the bank as part of an investigation of into the laundering of up to €40 million. The suspects in the case are Chinese criminal organisations.

The Beijing-based bank, the world’s largest lender, allegedly facilitated the transfer to China of money obtained through trafficking and other illegal means, Spanish police said in a statement. The raid is part of a wider investigation conducted last year into the activities of Chinese-organized crime groups in Spain.

The money-laundering system operated by Chinese and Spanish criminal syndicates allegedly used ICBC’s Spain office to launder funds earned through smuggling, tax and excise fraud and labour exploitation, Europol said. The investigation has already identified new international links leading to France, Germany and Lithuania, the agency said.

During the investigation, the Spanish authorities found links to criminals in France, Germany and Lithuania.

The Chinese embassy in Spain on Wednesday expressed its concern over the raid, saying that based on the information it currently possesses, Chinese institutions operating in the country have all complied with local and Chinese laws. The embassy also said that it hasn’t received any information about the operation from the Spanish government.

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