Photos: Danske Estonia ex-employees money laundering trial gets underway

Monday marked the start of the trial in Harju County Court of six ex-Danske Bank employees accused of money laundering-related crimes at its Estonian branch.

According to the charges brought by the Prosecutor's Office, six former employees of the foreign banking unit of Danske Bank's Estonian branch cooperatively organized large-scale money laundering at the bank branch between 2007-2015, intentionally concealing the true owner, the origin as well as the nature of funds of suspected criminal origin transferred to Danske Estonia accounts.

Evidence collected during the pretrial investigation indicates that the accused provided money laundering services to the extent of at least $1.6 billion in U.S. dollars and €6 million.

Standing trial in the case are Danske Estonia's former private and foreign banking division chief Juri Kidjajev, relationship manager Erik Lidmets and ex-employees Jevgeni Agnevštšikov, Marko Teder, Mihhail Murnikov and Natalja Komarov.

The indictment also included eight predicate offenses committed in Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Switzerland, the United States and Iran.

"The Prosecutor's Office finds that the accused former employees of the foreign banking unit at Danske Bank's Estonian Branch (foreign client relationship managers) established their own money laundering business, which they hid from the bank's other structural units," Maria Entsik, now a chief state prosecutor, has previously said regarding the case.

According to the charges, clients were sold legal entities concealing their beneficial owners, were advised how to hide electronic trails from the bank when transferring money, were offered paid transfer documentation services and were enabled to conduct so-called transit transactions, i.e. transfers between from person A to person B without any real economic substance, with the aim of concealing traces of the money's owner and origin.

Estonian prosecutors consider this to have been professional money laundering.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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