US-based Danish bank Danske has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in one of the world’s biggest money-laundering scandals. In addition, the bank agreed to pay two billion dollars (1.89 billion euros) in fines on Tuesday, according to the US Department of Justice.
The bank admitted to defrauding US banks between 2008 and 2016. According to prosecutors, Danske’s Estonian office, among others, had the opportunity to transfer large amounts of money to Russian clients without much supervision. About $212 billion flowed through the U.S. financial system from these customers through the branch that later closed. According to US officials, Danske employees used shell companies to hide ownership of the funds. Accordingly, Danske has known about the illegal transactions since at least 2014.
“We unconditionally apologize and accept full responsibility for the unacceptable shortcomings and misconduct of the past that have no place at Danske Bank today,” said Danske Board Chairman Martin Blessing. He was once the head of Commerzbank, and after the scandal came to light, Blessing came to Dansk. Besides the criminal settlement with the US Department of Justice, the bank on Tuesday also settled a civil investigation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Danish authorities.
Danske Bank said some time ago that it would pay around 1.9 billion euros for the costs of the legal dispute.
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