Ex-Danske Bank Staff Charged With Money Laundering In Estonia

Ex-Danske Bank Staff Charged With Money Laundering In Estonia

17 Apr 2023 ( barrons )

Six former Danske Bank staff have been charged with laundering $1.6 billion and six million euros ($6.5 million) at the Estonian branch of Denmark’s biggest lender, prosecutors said on Monday.

They are accused of “providing money laundering services for a sum of at least $1,611,963,711 and 6,074,878 euros” between 2007 and 2015, Estonian prosecutors said.

“Assets worth about 10 million euros, allegedly obtained through money laundering, were seized”, the prosecutors added.

The six “deliberately concealed” the true owners of the money transferred to the bank’s Estonian accounts, which was “probably of criminal origin,” the prosecutors said.

The former employees “created their own money laundering business, which they hid from other units of the bank” and sold clients companies “that hid the real owners,” the prosecution said.

They helped clients “hide the electronic fingerprint from the bank when making transfers and offered a paid transfer document drafting service” in a “professional money laundering” operation, state prosecutor Maria Entsik said.

She added that the accusations related to eight “prior infractions” in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.

Last week Danske Bank reported heavy 2022 losses after being hit by huge fines in the United States and at home over money laundering.

In December, the bank pleaded guilty to defrauding American banks via its Estonian branch in order to sneak money from criminals in Russia and elsewhere into the US financial system.

Danske Bank forfeited $2 billion as part of the plea agreement.

It was then fined 3.5 billion kroner ($512 million) by the Danish financial watchdog.

Danish authorities also seized 1.25 billion kroner in profits from transactions in the Estonian branch, which has since shut down.