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Danske Bank’s Money Laundering Troubles

By Bryan

Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, is under fire once again after being accused of helping launder $8.3 billion through it’s Estonian branch.

In 2017, Denmark’s daily newspaper, Berlingske, reported that Danske was responsible for laundering $3.9 billion into Denmark from various Eastern European countries. However, after recently reviewing bank statements from 20 companies with accounts from the bank, the newspaper warns that the real total could be twice as large. Analysts have estimated fines as large as $4.7 billion, with Danish regulators already ordering the bank to hold $800 million in the capital. Danske’s 20 accounts were linked to a fraud case uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky who died in prison, with Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital and Magnitsky’s former client kicked out of Russia for exposing corruption stating, “We are currently drafting a criminal complaint with the new information revealed about money laundering at Danske Bank that we intend to file with Danish and Estonian law enforcement.”

Although an audit found no reason to press criminal charges on the bank, Denmark’s financial watchdog is discussing the next step with its Estonian counterpart. Anders Meinert Jorgensen, head of group compliance at Danske Bank stated “It is too soon to draw any conclusions about the extent of the potential money laundering in Estonia. That is the reason why we have not ourselves published figures or commented on speculations about potential amounts.” However, Danske admitted to having lost control over the Estonian branch and launched its own investigation which is expected to be completed in September.