The money laundering scandal at Danske Bank's Estonian branch has led to swift action by the Danish regulators and ten people being charged. But Neil Williams of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli would not be surprised if the regulators themselves have to face tough questioning about what they did or did not know.
Danish prosecutors have charged 10 former Danske Bank managers over the massive money laundering scandal involving the bank's Estonian branch.
The charges relate to more than 200 billion euros in suspicious transactions that passed through Danske's Estonian base from 2007 to 2015.
Former chief executive Thomas Borgen, who left his post seven months ago, is among the 10 people who have been charged. His home was raided by investigators.
In February, regulators in Estonia ordered Danske Bank to leave the country within eight months because the financial scandal had damaged the reputation of the country. Kilvar Kessler, the chair of the management board of Estonia's financial regulator has said the scandal "dealt a serious blow to the transparency, credibility and reputation of the Estonian financial market".
In September last year, an internal report by Danske revealed that it had failed for years to prevent suspected money laundering involving thousands of customers at the Estonian branch in the country's capital, Tallinn.
It is clear given the way that events have unfolded that the prosecutors in Denmark have acted swiftly and decisively. This is understandable given the full glare of global scrutiny that has been focused on the activities of Danske bank – and the questions that have inevitably arisen about how money laundering on such a scale was able to go unchecked for so long.
Given the seriousness of the allegations and the information available about the apparent brazenness with which the bank seemed to be acting, the regulators have arguably had little choice but to act in the way that they have. They had to if they wanted to protect the reputation of the Danish banking system.
The action of the regulators in Denmark is logical and perhaps inevitable. But what is also inevitable now is the clamour for answers about just how much the Danish regulators knew about what was happening at Danske. And if they did not know anything, the regulators may find themselves having to explain why this was the case.
You can read more about Anti-Money Laundering Investigations at our website here: https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/expertise/anti-money-laundering-investigations/
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