Saturday, February 23, 2019

Baltic Battle: Estonia vs Denmark as The Blame Game for a $230 Billion Scandal Begins

Two from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
First up:

February 21
Danske Bank to Close Estonian Branch, EBA to Investigate Regulators
Estonia’s financial regulator, on Tuesday, gave Danske Bank’s Estonian branch eight months to close down, saying the money-laundering scandal possibly involving some US$230 billion has seriously damaged the credibility and reputation of Estonia’s financial environment. 

Danske Bank has 20 days to present an action plan for closing the branch and faces a penalty of 100,000 euros ($113,239) per day from the deadline if it does not comply until it either does close the bank or until it has paid up to a maximum value of 10 percent of the total net turnover of Danske Bank A/S, the maximum in Estonian law.

Estonia’s financial regulator intends to monitor the closure of the branch “very carefully and is ready if necessary to take additional supervisory measures to protect the interests of the customers of the branch and the credibility of the financial sector.”

Danske Bank also announced on Tuesday that it is ceasing operations in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania, intending to focus on its core Nordic market, and will fully comply with the Estonian regulator.

“We acknowledge that the serious case of possible money laundering in Estonia has had a negative impact on Estonian society,” said Jesper Nielsen, the interim CEO of Danske Bank. “We are sorry to be leaving Estonia against this background,” he added....MORE
And February 1:

Estonia vs Denmark: The Battle for Danske Blame Begins 
A war of words erupted this week as Danish and Estonian regulators attempted to shift blame for the Danske Bank money laundering scandal that is currently under investigation in Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the United States.

A total of 200 billion euros (US$229 billion) of suspicious payments passed through the Estonian branch of the Danish bank between 2007 and 2015.
The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) released a financial supervision report on Tuesday, placing responsibility on the Estonian regulator for one of Europe’s biggest scandals.  
“The Estonian supervisory authority (EFSA) has had and still has responsibility for the anti-money laundering (AML) supervision of the Estonian branch,” said the Danish FSA.

It claimed its Estonian counterpart failed to carry out comprehensive anti-money laundering checks.
“The effort of asking detailed questions...and going more into detail to obtain true and fair information did not work out as intended.”

The EFSA rejected Denmark’s allegations.

“The Financial Supervision Authority is somewhat astonished by the firm assertion of Danish financial supervision,” they replied in a statement on Thursday.
“The task of Danish financial supervision was and is to oversee the organization and management of Danske Bank, including at its branches.”...