Nordea reported to Denmark investigators over money laundering

Denmark’s State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (Statsadvokaten For Særlig Økonomisk og International Kriminalitet, SØIK) has received a report of possible money laundering at Nordea.

Nordea reported to Denmark investigators over money laundering
Photo: Sarah Christine Nørgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

SØIK confirmed via Twitted that a complaint had been filed against Nordea, the largest financial group in the Nordic countries.

“We can confirm that we have received a report regarding Nordea, which we already have a file open on. We will, of course, look thoroughly through at the evidence sent to us, and will coordinate with relevant authorities abroad,” SØIK wrote.

The news comes as investigations continue in several countries into a major case of money laundering through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, the largest lender in Denmark.

Norway’s economic crime investigation service, Økokrim, has also confirmed it has received a complaint against Nordea, Ritzau writes.

In Sweden, Ekobrottsmyndigheten, the equivalent state investigator for economic crime, said that it had received a complaint against a major bank, which it did not name.

The complainant was on Tuesday identified as Hermitage Capital Management in a report by Danish newspaper Børsen. The hedge fund sent papers identifying what it believes to be suspicious transfers valuing over 175 million dollars (1.1 billion Danish kroner), Børsen writes. The money is reported to have been transferred to 365 different accounts at Nordea banks in the Nordic countries.

Nordea said on Wednesday that it was aware of the reports but was unable to comment due to customer confidentiality principles. The bank said it would cooperate with authorities in all countries in which it operates.

“As part of our daily work to prevent economic crime, we monitor customer activity on an ongoing basis,” the bank told Ritzau via email.

“In cases in which we assess transactions to be suspicious, we report them to authorities,” Nordea, which received in 2015 a fine to the value of 36 million Danish kroner from Swedish authorities for breaching money laundering regulations, added.

Hermitage Capital Management is also a key player in the Danske Bank scandal. The fund's owner, William Browder, has been highly critical of the Danish lender and filed complaints against the bank and its employees to authorities.

READ ALSO: Moody's downgrades Danske bank ratings over money-laundering probe


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