A French judge is investigating allegations that Denmark’s biggest bank Danske Bank A/S laundered stolen Russian money.
Danske Bank has confirmed it is under investigation regarding transactions with a total value of 15 million euros that were transferred to France by former customers of the bank’s Estonian unit.
The funds in question were identified by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody after exposing evidence allegedly showing that police and criminals were involved in a $230m tax fraud. Danske Bank is the first lender to be formally investigated for allegedly laundering funds identified by Mr Magnitsky.
A statement from Danske Bank said: "We are not presently in a position to say whether the amounts came from illegal activities, and we do not wish to comment on the specific case as long as it is being investigated."
While Danske Bank is the first financial institution to be formally investigated over the fraud alleged by Mr Magnitsky, it may not be the last. And any bank that is investigated over this (or any other money laundering allegation) needs to be able to show that it had proper procedures in place to prevent laundering. If that is not the case, they may well find themselves with severe legal problems.
Read our article: MAKING SURE YOU DO ENOUGH TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING