US authorities are jumping into the ongoing investigation surrounding the Estonian branch of Danske Bank. According to a Bloomberg report, the Federal Reserve (Fed) is now looking at Deutsche Bank’s involvement in what is shaping up to be one of the largest money laundering cases in recent history.
The investigation can be traced back to September of 2018. A whistle-blower, who has since been identified as Howard Wilkinson, the branch’s former Head of Trading, revealed that anti-money laundering procedures were not being properly adhered to.
It is unclear exactly how much money passed through the Danish bank’s Estonian branch, but some outlets have estimated that $230 billion of illicit cash was funneled through it. According to the Danish Financial Services Authority, the bulk of the money came from Russia and countries that formerly made up the Soviet Union.
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Deutsche Bank – Danske’s correspondent bank
Deutsche Bank fits into the picture because it allegedly acted as Danske Bank’s main correspondent bank. As with much of the case, many of the details surrounding Deutsche Bank remain murky, and it is still unclear as to whether or not the German firm engaged in any wrongdoing.
The company’s CEO, Christian Sewing, has already urged members of the public to not judge the firm until more evidence comes to light. Sewing has also said that the bank is pursuing its own internal investigation into the Danske Bank case.
According to Bloomberg, the Fed’s investigation into the case, which is yet to be made public, will look at whether Deutsche Bank did enough to assess the funds that were flowing in from Danske Bank.
In a statement, Deutsche Bank denied that there was a probe but said that it had received requests for information from regulators across the globe. The German banking giant said that this was “not surprising at all” as regulators want to look at the Dankse Bank case and see what lessons can be drawn from it.