Security & Fraud

Former Danske Bank Chief Found Dead Amid Money Laundering Scandal

Danske, Estonia, CEO, Aivar Rehe, money laundering, investigation, dead, suicide

The former head of Danske Bank’s arm in Estonia has been found dead days after he disappeared, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (Sept. 25). 

Police had been searching for Aivar Rehe, 56, since he left his home in Tallinn on Monday (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 Wednesday (Sept. 25), Estonian Police and Border Guard Board spokeswoman Tuuli Härson told the news outlet. Police have said they don’t suspect any third-party involvement, and the case is being treated as suicide.

“There are no signs of violence on the body, and there is no indication of an accident,” a police statement said. 

The bank is under investigation in the U.S., Estonia, Denmark and France over suspicious payments. The scandal centers on the Estonia branch’s handling of money flowing from Russia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. 

In 2018, the bank’s CEO, Thomas Borgen, stepped down following the investigation into the payments.

Rehe ran the bank’s operations in the country from 2006 until 2015, and he had held the line that regardless of the scandal, the bank’s anti-money laundering and customer checking procedures were all up to par.

There are at least 10 suspects in the crime so far, although some are lower-ranking employees from the branch. 

Borgen, Danske Bank’s former group chief executive, as well as former chief financial officer, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen, and a former chairman of Denmark’s financial regulator have all been charged by Danish prosecutors as part of the investigation.

Estonia has been shaken by the scandal, which came from a bank it had hoped would help the country’s financial sector. Estonian regulators ordered Danske Bank to stop serving non-residents, and then last year it forced the bank to close down completely in the country.

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