The State Bank of India (SBI,) a state-owned Fortune 500 bank, has won a money laundering case involving the bank and some of India’s diamond dealers, in a court of appeal in Antwerp.
Belgian authorities had filed a case in 1997 alleging that SBI employees were indulging in and encouraging money laundering by giving credit against money allegedly laundered by some Antwerp-based Indian diamond dealers.
A lower court had earlier ruled in SBI’s favor, but the prosecution had appealed the verdict. On June 28, the court of appeals also ruled in the bank’s favor, stating that it had found no evidence of money laundering by the Indian diamond dealers.
Speaking to Rapaport News, Nihal Kujur, CEO of the bank’s Antwerp operations, said that the SBI’s image had been tarnished because of the case. “As everyone knows in India, the SBI is a very ethical bank. We would rather lose small business than indulge in unethical practices. Fortunately, the Belgian courts have realized the truth and ruled in our favor.”
According to Kujur, eight diamond dealers were involved in the case.