Type of Claim: Investigating
Claim Period: 29 April 2014 to 19 September 2018
Defendants: Danske Bank
Governing Law: Danish law
Limitation: To be determined
Danske Bank is the largest bank in Denmark and has a presence in 16 countries. Its headquarters are in Copenhagen, Denmark and it is listed on the Danish Stock Exchange (CPH: DANSKE).
On 27 February 2018, several news outlets reported that Estonia’s financial regulator would open an investigation into Danske Bank after newspapers had reported that day that Danske Bank had been aware of money laundering allegations at its Estonian branch going back to 2003. It is alleged that a whistle-blower at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch had informed senior management about suspicious transactions, including transactions involving relatives of Vladmir Putin and members of the Russian secret service.
On 13 March 2018, Ole Andersen, Chairman of Danske Bank made a statement in connection with the recent media coverage of potential money laundering at Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia and stated that an investigation was under way led by law firm Bruun & Hjejle.
On 3 May 2018, the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Danish FSA) published a report in relation to anti-money laundering at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank but took no further action.
On 18 July 2018, Danske Bank announced it intended to waive income from suspicious transactions in Estonia and estimated the total gross income from the Estonian non-resident portfolio since 2007 had been approximately DKK1.5bn.
On 19 September 2018, Danske Bank published its own report, prepared by Bruun & Hjejle, on the non-resident portfolio at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch. On the same day, the CEO of Danske Bank, Thomas F. Borgen resigned. On 4 October 2018, the Danish FSA published a statement confirming that it would initiate a new assessment to establish whether the basis underlying the FSA decision of 3 May 2018 had changed and therefore may warrant new supervisory reactions..
Danske Bank’s stock price fell from DKr250.10 on 26 February 2018 to DKr148.70 on 5 October 2018, causing a market capitalisation loss of over €8bn.
Presently, there are at least five criminal investigations proceeding against Danske Bank and members of the management team for money laundering activities in France (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris), Denmark (Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime), the United Kingdom (Financial Conduct Authority, working closely with the UK National Crime Agency), the United States (Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department, and the Justice Department) and Estonia (General Prosecutor’s office).
Stewarts has instructed Danish law firm Lund Elmer Sandager to provide an opinion on the viability of a shareholder claim against Danske Bank to recover losses due to the failure of Danske Bank to disclose the money laundering.
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