Danske Bank is facing a criminal investigation in the US over its $235 billion money laundering scandal
REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
- Danske Bank reveals that it is subject to a criminal investigation in the United States of America over money laundering scandal.
- "We are co-operating with the authorities investigating us as a result of the case. However, it is too early to speculate on any outcome of the investigations," interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said.
- The US Department of Justice probe centres around activities within Danske Bank's Estonian branch.
- Analysts believe that the scandal could end up costing Danske Bank as much as $8 billion in fines, if it is found to have committed any wrongdoing.
Danske Bank on Thursday revealed that it is subject to a criminal investigation in the United States of America over the Estonian money laundering scandal which hit the bank last month.
In a statement on Thursday morning, the bank said that investigations by US authorities are taking place both in Denmark and Estonia, and that it has been asked by the US Department of Justice for information about the investigations. Danske Bank is cooperating fully with the investigations, it said.
"We are co-operating with the authorities investigating us as a result of the case. However, it is too early to speculate on any outcome of the investigations," Jesper Nielsen, who was announced as interim CEO of Danske Bank just three days ago, said in a statement.
Danske Bank added that the investigations' outcome, and the timing of its completion are uncertain.
The investigation into suspicious transactions at Danske Bank's Estonian branch centers on so-called nonresident transactions - effectively transactions done by people not based in Estonia but using the bank's facilities there.
When announcing the scale of the issues in early September, Danske said it had identified about 10,000 customers who fit the profile of nonresidents, with 6,200 of those fitting what the bank called "the most risk indicators." Of these customers, Danske Bank said, the "vast majority have been found to be suspicious."
It did, however, emphasize that just because a customer had "been found to have suspicious characteristics does not mean that there is a basis for considering all payments in which the customer in question was involved to be suspicious."
As well as the initial 10,000 customers, a further 5,000 customers with nonresident characteristics have also been identified.
In total, Danske Bank says, these 15,000 customers undertook about 9.5 million payments, with the total value of the money flowing about 200 billion euros, or $234 billion.
Analysts believe that the scandal could end up costing Danske Bank as much as $8 billion in fines,if it is found to have committed any wrongdoing.
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