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Online bank Bunq wins court case to use AI for anti money laundering

Bunq may use AI to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. De Nederlandsche Bank had instructed the bank to stop, but now the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal has decided that the decision must be partially reversed.

The court rules that ‘not all violations charged to Bunq have been established’. One of the accusations made by DNB is that Bunq’s method for screening customers to prevent money laundering rules is inadequate. If a private individual registers as a new customer, Bunq assigns that customer a user profile. This user profile was created on with extensive data analysis and the use of artificial intelligence.

DNB believes that this method does not provide Bunq with sufficient specific information about the new customer to properly assess the risks.

However, the court judges that DNB has not been able to prove that Bunq’s method is contrary to the law. “The law has open standards and does not prescribe exactly how banks must screen their customers. Bunq has explained in detail in the procedure that and how its method, based on artificial intelligence, works and why it minimizes the risks of money laundering. DNB has not done enough against it,” stated the ruling.

DNB was also unable to prove that Bunq obtained insufficient information from business customers who already had an account with the bank.

Bunq does have the obligation to investigate the source of a customer’s financial resources and the online bank did violated the rules regarding ‘intensified investigations into corruption among customers with an important public function’ according to the ruling.

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