Banks, Crime, Estonia, Financial Services, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 22.05.2019, 10:24

Paper: 10 arrested in Estonia in Danske money laundering probe

BC, Tallinn, 19.12.2018.Print version
Six former employees of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank were detained on Tuesday and four more on Wednesday morning in connection with the investigation into alleged money laundering at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, spokespeople for the Office of the Prosecutor General said on Wednesday, informed LETA/BNS.

The Office of the Prosecutor General has grounds to suspect them in having knowingly enabled customers of the bank to move money entailed in suspected money laundering.  


Postimees late on Tuesday night reported about the arrests of eight people. According to the Postimees report, the former managers of the Estonian branch, Aivar Rehe and Tonu Vanajuur, were not among those declared suspect.


The spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor General, Kaarel Kallas, refused comment.


"We will inform the public tomorrow," Kallas told Postimees late on Tuesday night, declining to answer the question if the top managers of the Estonian branch were among those declared suspect. 


An external audit ordered by Danske Bank the findings of which were published in September showed that most of the 10,000 non-resident customers of the bank's Estonian branch were suspicious and it is likely that most of the transaction flow of the bank was also suspicious, while Danske in relation to the suspicious activities has reported eight former employees to the Estonian police and 42 employees and agents have been deemed to have been involved in some suspicious activity.


The investigation ordered from the independent law firm Bruun & Hjejle identified  a total of around 10,000 customers as belonging to the non-resident portfolio at the bank's Estonian branch. To ensure that all relevant aspects are covered the investigation covered a total of around 15,000 customers with non-resident characteristics, that is, a further 5,000 customers, the bank said in September.


Some 12,000 documents and more than eight million emails were searched, and more than 70 interviews were conducted with current and former employees and managers, including members of the executive board and members of the board of directors. 


The investigation determined that a series of major deficiencies in the bank's governance and control systems made it possible to use Danske Bank's branch in Estonia for suspicious transactions. Furthermore, only part of the suspicious customers and transactions were historically reported to the authorities as they should have been. Both investigators and Danske suspect that there may have been employees at the Estonian branch who aided the customers or cooperated with them, according to the disclosure made in September.


Danske Bank said in September that it has reported eight former employees to the Estonian police and these statements have been added to the ongoing criminal procedure.






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