Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson, speaking during a public hearing at the Danish parliament Monday (Nov. 19), contended that a major European bank helped to process as much as $150 billion in suspicious payments, and noted that two U.S.-based lenders were involved.
According to a report in Reuters, Wilkinson, who was head of Danske Bank's trading unit in the Baltics from 2007 to 2014, wouldn't name the banks during the hearing. Reuters, citing sources, reported that Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Bank of America all cleared dollar transactions for the Estonian branch of Danske Bank. The comments came as regulators in Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the U.S. are investigating $228.5 billion in payments made through the branch from 2007 through 2015.
“I would guess that $150 billion went through this particular bank (the large European bank) in the U.S.,” Wilkinson told a Danish parliamentary hearing, reported Reuters. “No one really knows where this money went. All we know is that the last people to see it were these three large banks in the U.S. They were the last check, and when that failed, the money was into the global financial system.”
The whistleblower told parliament that he was offered cash by Danske Bank to keep quiet, but received a waiver last month that enables him to speak with some of the authorities in the U.S. He said he doesn't think the investigations will yield any results. “There is no chance in the world … that any of that money is ever going to be tracked down and that any criminals lose a single cent,” Wilkinson said.
Meanwhile, interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said the incident has hurt the reputation of Danske Bank and that the actions in the branch do not reflect the bank it wants to be. “We have breached the expectations society had of us. The case and the course of events around it do not reflect the bank we want to be,” Nielsen told the Danish lawmakers after Wilkinson’s testimony, reported Reuters.