EU bank watchdog launches inquiry into Denmark's handling of Danske Bank amid DOJ probe

Alexandra Rogers
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The scandal prompted the resignation of the bank's chief executive Thomas Borgen (Source: Getty)

The European Union's banking supervisor has launched preliminary inquiries into Denmark's financial watchdog in relation to allegations of money laundering at Danske Bank through its Estonia branch.

European Banking Authority chair Andrea Enria today informed the European parliament that it had launched a "preliminary breach of union law inquiries on ... the Danske bank case in Denmark".

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a probe into a suspected €200bn (£176bn) money laundering scandal involving suspicious Russian money that took place at its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

The scandal prompted the resignation of the bank's chief executive, Thomas Borgen, last month.

Last week Danske Bank said it was "in dialogue" with authorities regarding the "terminated non-resident portfolio" at the bank’s Estonian branch, including criminal investigations in Estonia and Denmark.

The US DoJ has a track record of extracting enormous fines from European banks over money laundering failings. It fined Dutch lender ING $900m in September after it admitted that criminals had used its accounts to launder money. In 2012 HSBC was forced to pay $1.92bn for money laundering of Mexican drug money.

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority and Danske Bank were approached for comment.

Read more: Danske Bank shares crash to four-year low over Russian money laundering