Danske Bank chief resigns over money laundering

The boss of Denmark's Danske Bank, Thomas Borgen, has resigned over the money-laundering scandal. A whistleblower's report showed that the bank's Estonian branch had laundered billions of euros, most of which came from Russia. Commentators call for far-reaching measures to restore trust in the banking sector.

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Postimees (EE) /

The guilty must be held accountable

So far the defence strategy of the bankers in Copenhagen has been merely to claim that they didn't know what the bankers over in Tallinn were up to, Postimees writes in frustration:

“Guys, you're joking, right? You're telling us that the bankers in Copenhagen didn't have a clue what was going on? ... We won't accept that! No way! It's important to know that there are politicians in Denmark who knew full well what was going on. With the help of the Estonian branch of the Danish bank, money belonging to the Russian cleptocracy and Russian criminals was laundered so it could be circulated in the free world. This is blood money that mustn't be touched by honest people! Danske Bank was not an innocent bystander here; its Estonian branch, for whose activities those in charge in Denmark must be held accountable, did this.”

Politiken (DK) /

More international controls

Criminal activities in the banking system can't be combatted at the national level, Politiken believes:

“There is no simple solution, but the need for harsher punishment and markedly improved oversight is completely obvious. The financial sector is incapable of controlling itself and its greed, and the political proposal for tougher controls is pathetic. Controls must be intensified not just at the national level but above all internationally. Capital knows no limits, so the same should apply for the controls too.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

The markets' shortsightedness is the problem

For Aftonbladet the scandal shows yet again that fundamental change is needed in the banking system:

“After each new scandal there is talk of better controls and higher moral standards. Yet everything continues as before. The CEOs are soon involved in new fraudulent transactions. In the end it's we who pay for this as bank customers or taxpayers. This shortsighted market poses a social problem. It's time to demand more responsibility. Banks are far too important to be driven by speculation and the quest for quick profit.”