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DANSKE BANK

US probing money laundering claims: Danske Bank

Danske Bank on Thursday said it was being investigated by the US Department of Justice over possible money laundering related to more than $200 billion transferred through the Danish lender's Estonian branch.

US probing money laundering claims: Danske Bank
A Danske Bank logo on display at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Canada on October 19th, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo/Ritzau Scanpix

At the centre of a financial scandal that has made headlines since last year, a Danske Bank internal probe was unable to determine exactly how much of the money that passed through the branch between 2007 and 2015 may have been laundered. 

“Danske Bank has also now received requests for information from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with a criminal investigation relating to the bank's Estonian branch conducted by the DOJ,” the bank said.

“We are cooperating with the authorities investigating us as a result of the case. However, it is too early to speculate on any outcome of the investigations,” the lender's interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said in a statement.

In early August, the Danish state prosecutor's office for serious economic and international crime said the bank was being investigated over allegations that money, most of which came from Russia and other former Soviet republics, which had flowed through the Estonian branch had been laundered.

The money laundering allegations are linked to a fraud case exposed by the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed in Russia after he revealed the involvement of several high-ranking Russian officials in stealing massive tax payments from several companies.

READ MORE: The Local's coverage of the Danske Bank money laundering scandal

DANSKE BANK

Danish police drop money laundering case against Danske Bank directors

Denmark’s economic crime unit SØIK has dropped potential charges for money laundering against three leading former directors of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, but investigation of the bank itself continues.

Danish police drop money laundering case against Danske Bank directors
File photo: Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The three directors, Thomas Borgen, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen and Lars Stensgaard Mørch were investigated in relation to a scandal involving large-scale money laundering at the Estonian division of the bank.

Each of the three confirmed to newspaper Børsen that charges have been dropped.

In a written statement to media, SØIK said it had not uncovered “evidence that any individual has shown negligence to such an extent that it can be characterised as gross” and that the law had therefore not been broken.

“For an individual to be convicted under money laundering laws, they must have committed gross negligence. In this case we have conducted a vert comprehensive and thorough investigation with a number of investigative steps,” acting head of SØIK Per Flig also said in the statement.

The bank itself is still under investigation for possible breach of money laundering laws, however, Flig noted.

READ ALSO: US files lawsuit against scandal-hit Danske Bank

No individuals now remain under suspicion in the investigation, meaning SØIK has dropped cases against all leading bank executive who were suspected by police in March 2019.

Around 1,500 billion kroner from foreign customers flowed through the Estonian division of Danske Bank between 2007 and 2015, an investigation found.

A large proportion of that money is considered to be suspicious. The scandal resulted in Borgen’s resignation as CEO and the bank closed its Estonian branch in 2019.

READ ALSO: More on the Danske Bank money laundering scandal

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