Finnish Regulator Probes Local Ties to Danske’s Money-Laundering Case

Danske’s Estonian branch, which is at the center of a money-laundering scandal, was owned until 2007 by Finland’s Sampo.

The Finnish financial watchdog could be probing local ties to a money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest lender, as the authority joins global regulators in their investigation over the $230 billion that washed through a tiny Estonian branch.

The Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), responsible for the regulation of financial markets in Finland, announced the probe in a statement, but declined to name or give details of the parties involved beyond saying it is working in “close cooperation with our colleagues in other FSAs.”

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“We are following and analyzing the situation closely. However, we have not yet made or published any official statements on our next possible moves,” added Samu Kurri, Head of Department, Financial Analysis and Operational Risks at the FIN-FSA.

According to a Reuters report, Danske’s Estonian branch, which is at the center of a money-laundering scandal, was owned until 2007 by Finland’s Sampo.

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Sampo, however, has not yet been found to be responsible for anything connected to the scandal, so it is possible that it could avoid the Nordic region’s biggest money laundering case altogether.

Danske Bank had already admitted doing too little to prevent the abuse of its branch between 2007 and 2015 when it bought Finland’s Sampo Bank.

Accused by European authorities of a large-scale money laundering scheme, Copenhagen-based lender’s Estonian had allegedly facilitated suspicious transactions by a foreign customer who was secretly representing Russia’s intelligence service, FSB, and family of Vladimir Putin.

The Danish regulator financial regulator said it had reopened its investigation into the bank, which was initially closed in May.

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