Yesterday, 28th November, Danish prosecutors accused Danske Bank of violating the law surrounding money-laundering.
This is a significant step closer to a lawsuit in the extensive case of alleged money-laundering by Danske Bank’s Estonian branch. Danske Bank is now looking at four charges for the period 2007 to 2016, in conjunction with Denmark’s anti-money-laundering act.
Inadequacy from the bank
The State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SØIK) has accused Danske Bank of poor controls in connection with its handling of so-called non-resident customers. They allege that the bank has not adequately monitored money transfers flowing through their Estonian branch. Additionally, they report a failure by management and the board to report suspicious transactions and start timely investigations.
One person who is very happy about the latest development is the Danish Minister of Business and Growth Rasmus Jarlov, who says this is an important step towards holding banks accountable.
Jarlov said to DR that it is important to test whether a verdict could be reached against Danske Bank. "It is important that a case like this is being investigated thoroughly and that the bank is being held liable,” he said.
These accusations mean that Danske Bank is now facing criminal charges. It should be noted that at present the charges are preliminary, and that formal charges have not yet been brought.
"We are still working intensively with the investigation. The further course will now clarify whether a criminal case against Danske Bank can be raised in Denmark,” prosecutor Morten Niels Jakobsen said in a press release.
Despite the Danish Minister of Business and Growth Rasmus Jarlov referring to the case as "perhaps the largest money laundering case in world history”, Jarlov still will not go as far as to say that he hopes the bank will be convicted in court.
Danske Bank has commented
Danske Bank’s acting CEO Jesper Nielsen said in a statement released by Danske Bank - “It is in our interest that the case is fully investigated, and we will, of course, cooperate with SØIK and make ourselves and the knowledge we have available in relation to the ongoing investigation.”
Nielsen said that the bank had been expecting to be preliminarily charged following the findings and conclusions of their own investigations presented in September this year.
Yesterday’s accusations are purely directed at Danske Bank as a company. However, the Danish Police are investigating whether personal liability can be directed against individuals within Danske Bank's management.
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