Denmark to make money laundering fines eight times larger

Denmark to make money laundering fines eight times larger
Parliamentary committee members presented the anti-money laundering measures on Wednesday. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix 2018
A parliamentary majority supports making fines on financial institutions found guilty of money laundering eight times larger.

The measure means Denmark will likely have the strictest punishments in Europe for the offence, businesses minister Rasmus Jarlov said.

The agreement came after the release on Wednesday by Danske Bank, the country’s largest lender, of details of an internal investigation into money laundering at its Estonian branch.

“We have been working on this agreement for a while, but have been waiting for the outcome of Danske Bank’s investigation today, but of course there has been a lot of background work on this,” Jarlov said Wednesday.

A bank that earns 1.5 billion kroner from money laundering would face fines of between 24 and 30 billion kroner, a significant increase on a fine of around three billion kroner, which would be given under existing rules.

But the updated regulations will not be applied to Danske Bank in the ongoing case.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Danske Bank's mushrooming money laundering scandal

“It is clear that when we make new laws, they apply to future cases,” Jarlov said.

“Money laundering laws have not been strict enough until now. That’s why we’re tightening them today. We have a mutual responsibility for this in parliament,” the minister added.

Parliament’s financial settlement committee, in which all parties excepting the Alternative and Red-Green Alliance are represented, agreed to support the new regulation.

“For the Socialist People’s Party, it is very important that we have some of the toughest and strictest rules in Europe and that we ensure much better whistleblowing than there is today,” Socialist People’s Party businesses spokesperson Lisbeth Bech Poulsen said.

Morten Bødskov, of the Social Democrat party, who chairs parliament’s business and export committee, said his party considered it important that fines were “not just made steeper, but significantly steeper”.

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