Money laundering scandal at Danske Bank

The Danish bank Danske Bank has been accused of laundering up to 8.3 billion dollars between 2007 and 2015 through its Estonian subsidiary. The money allegedly came from Russia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Journalists are dismayed that the scandal was largely ignored - not only by the bank's headquarters - for so long.

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Äripäev (EE) /

Estonia as the whipping boy

Danske Bank earned a good deal through money laundering but it's Estonia that will pay the price, Äripäev laments:

“In 2013 the Estonian subsidiary, which accounts for just 0.5 percent of the company, generated two percent of its profit. ... This was at a time when Danish banks were experiencing major difficulties owing to low interest rates and Danske closed umpteen branches. Burk Files, a US money laundering expert, analysed the documents for Berlingske and summed them up as follows: 'The management of Danske Bank seems foolhardy. The accounts I've seen look like something from a textbook on money laundering.' Estonia will now be seen as a former Soviet republic through which dirty money is moved.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

No one cares what happens in Eastern Europe

Helsingin Sanomat is amazed at how well Danske Bank is doing despite the money laundering scandal so far - also in comparison with Nordea Bank, which did much to help Northern European customers minimise their taxes through tax havens:

“There has been surprisingly little fuss until now over another Northern European bank, Danske Bank. Its Estonian branch laundered billions of euros. ... The money apparently came from the East, Russia among other places. ... Yes, Danske Bank has admitted irregularities, but it hasn't specified any sums. Yet the money laundering has neither caused a public outcry nor scared away customers. Perhaps it's less of an offence to help crooks from Eastern Europe than Danish crooks.”