The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has accelerated its probe into Deutsche Bank’s participation in a $220 billion Danske Bank money laundering scheme, Reuters reported on Monday (Dec. 2), citing four sources.
Aside from cooperating with Estonian prosecutors for the past year, DoJ officials are also working with state counsels in Frankfurt, sources told the news outlet. A Danske spokesman confirmed that it is working with the authorities in the U.S., Estonia, Denmark and France.
“We have repeatedly stressed that we are in a good and constructive exchange with the authorities,” a Deutsche Bank’s spokesman said.
Estonian prosecutors are looking at over 10 suspicious transactions involving up to $2 billion, sources said.
Deutsche officials only recently learned that the DoJ widened its investigation to include the bank’s participation in fostering the Danske trades and its possible neglect in quickly reporting suspicious transactions, one source said.
New York and British regulators already levied almost $700 million in fines against Deutsche in a separate $10 billion money laundering case involving the so-called “mirror trades” from Russia. That incident is still under investigation by the DoJ.
Two sources told Reuters the U.S. probe is anticipated to be finished in 2020.
Deutsche alerted German authorities in February about suspicious money transfers after a whistleblower raised the alarm at Danske five years ago, two sources said. Washington and Frankfurt are now inquiring about the reasons for the delay.
Despite breaking off its relationship with Danske Bank in 2015, Deutsche Bank didn’t report more than a million suspect bank transfers until February of this year. Investigators in Germany are now trying to figure out whether the transactions were covered up for a reason, and who’s responsible for doing so.
Danske Bank was no longer allowed to operate in Estonia after it admitted that $220 billion of questionable money went through a branch there between the years of 2007 and 2015.