Danske Bank pleads guilty to fraud in the United States and pays 2 billion
Danske Bank admitted to US prosecutors that it was guilty of bank fraud related to a major money laundering scandal. The Danish bank therefore pays a fine of 2 billion dollars (1.9 billion euros).
For years, Danske Bank did not investigate suspicious money flows through its Estonian branch, although it had been clear since 2014 that foreign criminals were likely laundering a lot of money through Estonia. As a result, $160 billion of possible money laundering also passed through the US financial system, writes the US Department of Justice. This while US banks assumed the controls to prevent this at Danske Bank were in order.
“For years, Danske Bank deceived and lied to American banks to funnel billions of dollars of suspicious and criminal money into the American financial system,” said New York District Attorney Damian Williams. According to him, Danske Bank broke the law for pure profit and facilitated the finances of criminals.
Another prosecutor, Lisa O. Monaco, warns that the Justice Department will continue to protect the US financial system from suspicious foreign money, “whether it comes from Russia or elsewhere.”
At the same time as the Justice Department deal was announced, the SEC announced that Danske Bank was also paying $413 million to misleading investors in the United States. The bank has also reached an agreement with the authorities of its home country, Denmark.
Danske Bank admitted in 2018 that money flows passing through a subsidiary in Estonia were widely suspect. In total, it was 200 billion euros, which ended up in the accounts of the Estonian branch abroad. In October, the company announced that it had set aside $1.9 billion for a major settlement surrounding the money laundering scandal.
Dutch banks have also received heavy fines for negligence in money laundering checks. In 2018, ING had already reached an agreement with the public prosecutor’s office for 775 million euros for “serious misconduct”. ABN AMRO had to pay a fine of 480 million euros as part of a settlement last year. Last week it was announced that Rabobank had been named by the prosecution as a suspect due to inadequate anti-money laundering checks.
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