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Danske Bank mediates millions of dollars in Azerbaijani bribes

Danske Bank branch in Estonia.
Danske Bank branch in Estonia. Source: (Tairo Lutter/Postimees/Scanpix)

The Estonian branch of Danske Bank allowed for the mediation of millions of dollars of bribe money from Azerbaijan to Europe through its accounts, daily Postimees wrote regarding an international journalistic investigation.

Last spring, Postimees reported on how, between 2012-2014, transactions totaling approximately $2.5 billion were made to Estonian banks by Azerbaijani firms. Further investigation conducted by Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, Estonian business daily Äripäev and a number of international media publications proved that the sum was even greater, amounting to $2.9 billion.

While a few dozen million dollars per year were transferred from Azerbaijan to non-residents in Estonia in the late 2000s, the sum jumped to approximately $800 million in 2012 and $1.7 billion in 2013.

Transactions from Estonia were made from accounts of businesses registered in the U.K., the owners of which found solace in tax havens in the Marshall Islands, Belize and the British Virgin Islands. Representatives of the companies formalizing the opening of the accounts with Danske Bank in Estonia were Azerbaijanis living in Baku and were not themselves the actual beneficiaries of the firms.

The investigation has shown that the sums in question were transferred within a two and a half-year period via a bank account opened at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank to a least two European politicians, a journalist writing regime-friendly articles, companies selling luxury goods, local prominent Azerbaijanis as well as companies with hidden owners.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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