Danske Bank Shows That Money Laundering Can Get Even More Amateur Hour Than At Deutsche Bank

I mean, how hard is it just to call Vladimir Putin and say, “Am I allowed to help this guy?”
Author:
Publish date:
Really only one reason to have a branch in Tallinn. By Pjotr Mahhonin [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Really only one reason to have a branch in Tallinn. By Pjotr Mahhonin [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

While it’s clearly not hard for Russians to get their dirty money cleaned, probably by Deutsche Bank, and possibly through the president’s own accounts, money laundering is technically illegal in the country. Russia even keeps a list of people and companies suspected of doing it or other things considered shady even by Russian standards, which list is approximately half a million names long and which is also circulated to the world’s banks. This list probably does not include the 96 Russian oligarchs whose names Steve Mnuchin petulantly scrawled onto $100 bills with his signature on them, 96 people who one suspects might be in great need of money-laundering services, services unlikely to earn the enmity of the Kremlin. And still, Danske Bank allegedly found a way to run afoul of things, and then allegedly did nothing about it, as one does.

It is the latest indication that officials at Danske Bank were aware almost two years before it started shutting questionable accounts that the small but highly profitable branch was involved in potentially illicit money flows.

Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest bank, is being probed by U.S. authorities who want to know why its tiny branch in the former Soviet republic of Estonia processed as much as $150 billion in transactionsfrom 2007 to 2015 from foreign countries, mainly Russia.

Of course, little Danske Bank couldn’t have done it without some help, specifically from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, which was apparently modeling the due-diligence behavior that Danske adopted.

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority—in charge of making sure Denmark’s banks obey anti-money-laundering rules—was “very worried because they have confirmed to U.S. authorities that we comply with Danish [anti-money-laundering] requirements,” he wrote, copying the email to several employees of the branch. “The Danish FSA has helped the Bank in a critical situation. They are now very worried that any situation may arise.”

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but these guys are even worse at this than Deutsche Bank.

Bank at Center of Money-Laundering Probe Knew of Russian Blacklist Clients [WSJ]

Related