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Customs law and trade, industry and logistics at Van Uden Holding

Kneppelhout lawyers - Customs law at Van Uden Holding

Customs law and trade, industry and logistics at Van Uden Holding

Advising compliance policy and procedures with regard to the Know Your Customer principle, as well as mediation with the bank.

“How can we adjust our policy in such a way that we do not run undue risks of money laundering or terrorist financing or acting in violation of sanctions regulations?” – Patrick van ‘t Hoff, Director at Van Uden Holding.

From tropical hardwood to food and beverages, and from activities in the logistics sector to the property market: Van Uden is an investment company active in a wide range of companies. Worldwide, from Malaysia to Brazil and West Africa.

“Doing business with countries and persons to which sanctions apply is only allowed under the very strict conditions of the Sanctions Regulations and often not at all,” says Patrick van ‘t Hoff, Director at Van Uden Group. “Banks are obliged to check this and take appropriate measures. They call this the KYC principle, which stands for Know Your Customer. When the bank called to say our financing was being put on hold, a solution had to be found quickly. The bank recommended Kneppelhout.”

The challenge

“We were not really familiar with KYC, let alone what the bank expects from us in terms of policies and procedures to prevent problems in the future.”

Why was the financing put on hold? “Because we got a high risk profile. At the time, one of our partners was active in Sudan, a country subject to international sanctions. Doing business with sanctioned countries is only allowed under very strict conditions. The bank checks this to ensure no activities are taking place that conflict with it.

The message from the bank was disturbing,” explains Patrick. “We were about to start construction on a new property location. Without financing, business operations came under pressure, so a solution had to be found quickly. We were not really familiar with the Know Your Customer principle, let alone what the bank expects from us in terms of policies and procedures to prevent problematic activities in the future.

The bank advised us to contact Kneppelhout, because you specialise in such issues and, they told me, had successfully completed a number of similar cases.”

The service

“How can we adjust our policy in such a way that we do not run undue risks of money laundering or terrorist financing or acting in violation of sanctions regulations?”

“Kneppelhout has helped us to be accountable to the bank for our business activities in Sudan. We also asked for advice: how can we adjust our policy in such a way that we will continue to do business with reliable business partners and do not run unnecessary risks of money laundering or terrorist financing or acting in violation of imposed sanctions? For example, by having new partners screened by a specialised company as a standard.

In collaboration with our quality manager, we tightened up the policy and procedures, which we subsequently had tested by Kneppelhout. Although we no longer do business with sanctioned countries at the moment, we are aware that the laws and regulations are constantly changing and new countries are always being added or dropped. This is something we keep a close eye on.”

The collaboration

“There’s a good reason why the bank recommended Kneppelhout, other firms aren’t ready yet.”

Patrick: “I would recommend Kneppelhout, especially in this area, they really specialise in sanctions and export control and are ahead of the rest of the market. There’s a good reason why the bank recommended them, other firms aren’t ready yet.

The team of Marc Padberg and Tim Hesselink is very skilled. They immediately understood our urgency. Imagine if they had said: come back to us in a month! That would have been disastrous. Yes, we received a very good service.

Without Kneppelhout, it would never have been possible to get everything ready in time for financing, enabling us to continue building different locations. Thanks to their advice, the group company in question from Sudan can now carry out its activities 100% legally. Incidentally, we have sold the company, we no longer have the ambition to be active in sanctioned countries.”