Comments on media coverage of transactions at Danske Bank in Estonia

Several media are currently reporting that Danske Bank may have been exploited for illegal activities in connection with a number of international transactions. These were transactions carried out at our branch in Estonia.

“We have previously established that, in the period leading up to 2014, our branch in Estonia had inadequate measures in place to prevent Danske Bank from being exploited for money laundering and other illegal activities,” says Flemming Pristed, Group General Counsel. “We have taken the steps necessary to remedy this. We do not in any way want to be exploited for money laundering or other illegal activities. Since 2014, we have terminated relationships with all customers that were unable to document a legitimate purpose for maintaining an account in Estonia, and we have tightened our procedures and controls significantly. In recent years, we have generally stepped up our AML measures and made a huge effort to prevent exploitation. We cannot guarantee that all attempts to launder money through Danske Bank will be unsuccessful, but it has never been harder than it is now.”

We cannot comment on specific customers or specific transfers in the present matter. If we found reason to submit reports on suspicious circumstances to the authorities, we did so. It is then for the authorities to conduct investigations and decide whether and to what extent the purpose of the transactions was illegal. We are cooperating fully with the authorities since we all share the same interest in combating money laundering and other illegal activities.”

On the basis of the suspicion of possible money laundering or other illegal activities, we have decided to take another look at the situation in Estonia during the period leading up to 2014. We have started various investigations to establish what exactly took place during that period and to learn from what happened then. These efforts form part of our measures to make it as difficult as possible to exploit Danske Bank for money laundering or other illegal activities.

Specific AML measures

The measures taken by Danske Bank in recent years include improving IT systems to enhance monitoring, introducing tighter control, adding more resources to anti-money laundering activities and training staff.

At the Group level, this means the following:

  • More than 550 employees are dedicated to the combating of financial crime.
  • Every month, we screen 3.7 million customer transactions.
  • Every week, we screen about 15 million customer numbers against international sanction lists.
  • Every year, we record about 150,000 warnings of unusual customer behaviour in relation to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
  • In the past year, Danske Bank submitted 7,618 reports to the authorities.

Journalists are also welcome to contact our Press Office by phone +45 45 14 14 00, day and night, or by email.