Danske Bank says US probing money laundering claims

Danske Bank 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 (AFP pic)

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

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 Russia