Danske Bank offered clients the chance to buy gold bars while its huge money laundering scandal was ongoing.
Documents dated from 2012 show that the Danske Bank branch in Estonia offered gold to clients, who were mainly Russian, as a way to achieve "anonymity" and allow wealth to be moved around easily. This offer was being made as the branch was involved in laundering an estimated 200 billion euros between 2007 and 2015. The bank is now being investigated by the United States' Department of Justice and its Securities and Exchange Commission as well as by authorities in Denmark, Estonia and France.
Last year an independent report was released by Danske that called the bank's money laundering procedures "manifestly insufficient'' and in breach of international standards. It also stated that the bank's management knew of the problem by 2014 but did not tell either banking regulators in Estonia or Denmark or its investors.
In April 2019, the Danish Business Authority announced that it had reported Danske's auditor, Ernst & Young (E&Y), to the police. The reports of Danske offering clients gold came out as BBC's Panorama claimed that EY failed to report evidence of smuggling by a crime gang using black market gold to launder proceeds of crime.
Read more about Anti-Money Laundering Investigations.
All who have been linked with these allegations will have a full opportunity to give their accounts of what happened. And, at this stage, they are only allegations. But the mere suggestion that gold may have been used in this way indicates the difficulty in policing large corporations if the bodies that are supposed to oversee and chaperone compliance procedures are somehow complicit in masking the true nature of transactions.
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