Banking

Danske Investigators Contact BoA, JPM

Danske Bank

Investigators have reportedly contacted Bank of America Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG regarding transactions involving a Danske Bank branch in Estonia at the heart of a money laundering investigation. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has also reportedly been asked questions by investigators from the Justice Department, Bloomberg reported Friday (November 16).

The outlet, however, reported that there aren’t indications that banks are targets in the probe, which is still in its beginning phases. At the same time, it noted that the banks were mentioned in an internal probe from Danske Bank as well as regulatory reports — although their names were not disclosed.

The lenders reportedly served as correspondent banks to the Tallinn, Estonia location of Danske Bank, which is Denmark’s largest bank. While JP Morgan halted those services to the bank in 2013, Bloomberg reported that Bank of America and Deutsche Bank provided them for two further years. The branch, however, worked apart from other locations as it kept its own correspondent banks opposed to ones that its corporate parent instituted.

The news comes as Stephen Kohn, a lawyer for the whistleblower in the money laundering scandal involving Danske Bank, warned that investigators should look into whether major Western banks were involved. Kohn, who is representing Danske whistleblower Howard Wilkinson, told Reuters earlier this week that the bank might be only a small player in the scandal, saying “it looks like the tip of the iceberg.”

Kohn said at the time, “The problem is far bigger than has been reported … If this is properly investigated, and the money followed all the way to the end — it all went to large, multinational Western financial institutions, and either the U.S. government or other authorities have the ability to track down every transfer and any account.” Reuters, however, made note that Kohn did not provide supporting evidence for the allegation.

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