Danske Bank Hit With Third Money Laundering Lawsuit

Danske Bank

Danske Bank is facing another lawsuit from about 60 investors over alleged money laundering, according to a report by Reuters

It’s the third lawsuit by investors against the bank, and the plaintiffs are seeking 1.5 billion crowns ($224 million). The other two lawsuits involve 232 pension funds, and separate investors are seeking claims of almost $800 million.

Danske Bank said it would protect itself from the lawsuits, and wouldn’t comment to Reuters about the timing of the cases.

“We will defend ourselves against the demands and deal with any development in collaboration with the bank’s lawyers,” Danske said.

The crux of the issue is an investigation by several countries over 200 billion euros ($220 billion) of suspicious payments that went through a small branch in Estonia between 2007 and 2015.

The international investors filed their suit in the District Court of Copenhagen, with the Danish law firm Nemeth Sigetty doing the actual filing. The investors include insurance companies, pension funds and managers of assets from a variety of countries. They are being represented by the International Securities Associations and Foundations Management Company for Damaged Danske Investors (ISAF-Danske).

The ISAF-Danske members say Danske Bank broke Danish Capital Market laws by intentionally not keeping them abreast of financial developments. 

ISAF-Danske said Danske Bank didn’t share “its financial income statements and retained earnings included significant earnings from known illegal high-risk money laundering activities.”

Earlier this year, the former head of Danske Bank’s arm in Estonia was found dead days after he disappeared.

Police had been searching for Aivar Rehe, 56, since he left his home in Tallinn on Sept. 23.

Rehe was a witness in a $230 billion ongoing money-laundering investigation, but he was not a suspect.

His body was found in the morning near his home on Sept. 25, Estonian Police and Border Guard Board spokeswoman Tuuli Härson said. Police have said they don’t suspect any third-party involvement, and the case was being treated as suicide.