The banking supervisor of the European Union has started some preliminary inquiries into the financial watchdog of Denmark in relation to the allegations of money laundering at Danske Bank through its branch that is located in Estonia.
Today, Andrea Enria, the chairperson of the European Banking Authority, informed the European parliament that it had started a “preliminary breach of union law inquiries on … the Danske bank case in Denmark.”
Enria added: “We are doing preliminary breach of union law inquiries on … the Danske bank case in Denmark.”
The European Banking Authority has the powers to make some recommendations that national supervisors are urged to follow, as it did during an investigation into how the supervisor of Malta oversaw one of its banks.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States of America is conducting an investigation into a suspected €200 billion (£176 billion) money laundering scandal that involved suspicious Russian money that took place at its branch in Estonia between the period of the year 2007 and 2015.
The scandal resulted in the resignation of Thomas Borgen, the chief executive of the bank, last September.
Last week, Danske Bank said that it was already “in dialogue” with the authorities about the “terminated non-resident portfolio” at the Estonian branch of the bank. It includes criminal investigations in Denmark and Estonia.
The US DoJ has a track record of extracting massive fines from European banks because of money laundering failings. Last September, it imposed a fine that amounted to $900 million to ING, a Dutch lender, after it admitted that the criminals had used its accounts to launder money. In 2012, HSBC was forced to pay a fine of $1.92 billion for money laundering of Mexican drug money.
Danske Bank and the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority were not immediately available to issue some comments regarding the said matter.