Danske Bank should compensate Estonia for the damage it has caused to the country's reputation, and former Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi (Reform) should take political responsibility, Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Jaanus Karilaid (Centre) said on Friday.
In a situation where allegedly more than €7 billion of illicit money has been laundered through Estonia and investigations have been launched by the Prosecutor's Offices of Denmark and Estonia alike, the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Supervision Authority should take more decisive action so that money obtained by criminal means is confiscated and added to state coffers, Karilaid said.
"Considering the scope of the money laundering and the damage caused to our reputation, the Minister of Finance must quickly establish a plan regarding how and to how great an extent Danske Bank must compensate the state for damages if the allegations are confirmed," he continued, adding that Danish Minister of Economic Affairs Rasmus Jarlov has also emphasised the need to investigate and confiscate the illegal income.
According to the MP, the lukewarm attitude taken over many years by the Financial Supervision Authority and investigative authorities toward possible money laundering, which was conducted over the course of almost eight years, continues to surprise him.
"The Russian Financial Monitoring Authority warned of potential money laundering in 2009 already, but the Financial Supervision Authority rejected these accusations," Karilaid recalled. "As we know, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Financial Supervision Authority is the Minister of Finance, whom Jürgen Ligi served as for many years."
He said that Ligi, who in his own words was in charge of finances during the period of time when the money laundering took place but was not responsible, must take political responsibility.
"Jürgen Ligi needs to understand eventually that no matter what office or position you accept, with salary comes responsibility," Karilaid concluded.
Editor: Aili Vahtla