Police arrest 10 in connection with Danske money laundering case

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Danske Bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, site of the largest throughflow of potentially illicit funds.
Danske Bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, site of the largest throughflow of potentially illicit funds. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Central Criminal Police arrested six former Danske Bank employees on Tuesday and another four on Wednesday morning. They are all suspects in the billion-euro money laundering case involving the Estonian branch office of Danske Bank.

Postimees wrote late on Tuesday evening (link in Estonian) that the bank's former top managers, Aivar Rehe and Tõnu Vanajuur, are not among the suspects. Meanwhile the press spokesman of the Office of the Prosecutor General, Kaarel Kallas, refused to comment. They would inform the public about the matter on Wednesday, Kallas said. A press conference has been set for 12.00 Wednesday.

Between 2007 and 2015 some €201 billion worth of potentially questionable transactions took place at Danske's Estonian branch. As Postimees wrote, out of more than 15,000 accounts investigated, some 6,200 are problematic. The transactions in question are all connected to the bank's business with non-residents, which by now has been ceased entirely.

An internal audit carried out earlier this year showed that anti-money laundering legislation was breached in numerous cases. The report identified 42 former Estonian employees of the bank that were connected with the case.

The bank's head office in Copenhagen was reprimanded for its lack of supervisory measures. Danske Bank CEO Thomas Borgen resigned in September following the audit.

As Postimees writes, there are still plenty of loose ends in the case. Reactions in Estonia as well as comments on the part of current and former politicians and government members have mainly expressed worry that the bank might try to blame Estonia for what happened.

The Estonian government decided in October to have an audit of its own carried out. Meanwhile the Danish Prosecution Service has introduced preliminary charges for breaches of anti-money laundering rules against four of the bank's former employees, all in connection with the billion-dollar money laundering case. Danske is also under investigation by United States authorities.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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