Denmark’s biggest bank has revealed in an internal investigation report that the vast majority of €200 billion ($234 billion) worth of transactions were “suspicious.”
Danske Bank does not further clarify, but Estonia’s FSA’s chairman, Kilvar Kessler, said: “The report describes serious shortcomings in the organisation of Danske Bank, where risk-appetite and risk control were not in balance.”
They are now examining the findings which relate to Danske’s Estonian branch where concerns over their lack of anti-money laundering measures have been raised since 2007.
A whistleblower further raised questions in 2014, but the allegations were not properly investigated and were not shared with the board, Danske said.
“When ignorance is the best defense, you have to ask what incentive there is for a CEO to ask probing questions or encourage a knock on the door from a concerned underling,” opines Chris Hughes of Bloomberg. The CEO, Thomas Borgen, has now resigned, stating:
“Even though the investigation conducted by the external law firm concludes that I have lived up to my legal obligations, I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign.”
The Danish FSA is now re-opening an investigation which was closed just this May with no action taken. According to FT, Jesper Berg, director-general of the Danish FSA, said:
“We are reopening the investigation into the bank, which we originally completed in May. When new information comes to light, then we will always see if there is more to come. We have been following the case since May. But now the work we have in this matter intensifies.”
According to Reuters, the matter concerns “15,000 customers and 9.5 million payments between 2007 and 2015.”
In particular, the matter concerns allegation of “criminal activity in its pure form, including money laundering” estimated at “billions of rubles monthly.”
Although nothing was done about it for more than a decade, the current timing may coincide with the background context of the alleged poisoning of a Russian spy by Russian agents in Britain.
How much more money laundering goes on in our banking systems that is not potentially politically opportune to point out, is unclear.
Yet this scandal may show the disbalance in selective law enforcement whereby even though all our monetary movements are subject to financial surveillance, a blind eye is turned in some cases, and not in some others.
Public blockchains, in contrast, put all on a level playing field whereby although they might be able to financially surveil us by using sophisticated tracking methods, we would also be able to surveil them.
Thus corruption at such grand scale as above would have probably been publicly pointed out with concrete evidence far earlier as blockchain analysts would have raised alarm bells far earlier in this case and in many other dirty activities that go on in global banking.