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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 22.05.2019, 10:08

Company that fell victim to fraud seeking missing money from Danske in Tallinn trial

BC, Vilnius, 17.01.2019.Print version
In a trial presided over by judge Vallo Kariler, which started behind closed doors in the the Harju County Court in Tallinn on Friday, the victim of an alleged fraud is seeking financial damages from Danske Bank, accroding the weekly Eesti Ekspress information reported LETA/BNS.

The lawsuit was filed by the Singaporean fertilizer company Dreymoor, which in 2015 placed an order for ammonia and urea with a chemical plant in Odessa, Ukraine. The transaction was to take place via an intermediary company called Expotrade, registered in Belize, into whose account the buyer made an advance payment in the amount of almost 13 mln US dollars.

The goods never shipped from the Odessa plant because the money disappeared with the intermediary.

Of said amount of money, 4.5 mln euros was transferred into an account opened in the name of the British company Belfort Impex LP in Danske Bank. From there the money moved on quickly.

According to court papers obtained by Eesti Ekspress from Ukraine, a 36-year-old man by the name of Dmytro Malinovskiy is suspected of the fraud. Malinovsky, who had tried his hand in both politics and business in Odessa and had been officially declared dead, was arrested amid luxury by police in France in October 2018.

According to Europol, the high-profile Ukrainian fugitive had sequestered himself in a Burgundy chateau surrounded by Salvador Dali paintings and a vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom after faking his own death. A Europol press release said that authorities detained the suspect on Oct. 5, seizing 4.6 mln euros in jewels, three Dali paintings, and the Rolls-Royce -- not to mention the 12th century castle in which the suspect resided, identified by the Telegraph as Chateau de la Rochepot, located near Dijon in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region of France.

"The suspect is thought to be behind a complex case of international fraud and money laundering," the Europol press release said.

Ukrainian authorities have filed a request to France for the extradition of the suspect. 

Criminal investigations concerning Malinovskiy are underway in several countries, but not Estonia, Eesti Ekspress said. 

Harju County Court, which is discussing the action against Danske as an ordinary civil lawsuit, held the first sitting in the case on Friday. Dreymoor was represented by law firm TGS Baltic.

"Our client wishes to get back from Danske the money it was defrauded of," attorney Marko Kairjak told Eesti Ekspress before the sitting.

"Representatives of Danske have said that they want the proceeding to be held behind closed doors to protect business secrets and bank secrets. It remains incomprehensible to me from what time is money laundering covered by bank secret. We are arguing against -- for this not to be declared a closed trial," the attorney said.

As the court began hearing the case behind closed doors on Friday, the Ekspress journalist had to leave.

Spokesperson for the court Viivika Siplane told the weekly after the sitting that the court has yet to decide about whether to declare the trial partially or fully closed. 

Danske Bank Group chief of communication Kenni Leth meanwhile told Ekspress that they do not comment on ongoing legal disputes.  

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