Business World

Monday 17 December 2018

Danish regulators face EU probe into Danske scandal

Danske Bank HQ in Copenhagen, Denmark
Danske Bank HQ in Copenhagen, Denmark

Huw Jones

DENMARK’s financial watchdog faces an inquiry by the EU’s banking supervisor into how it handled Danske Bank, which last week said it was being investigated by the US Department of Justice over alleged money laundering.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has powers to make recommendations that national supervisors must follow, as it did during a probe into how Malta’s supervisor oversaw one of its banks.

“We are doing preliminary breach of union law inquiries on ... the Danske bank case in Denmark,” EBA chairman Andrea Enria told the European Parliament. He also said that the EBA is launching a review into how all EU member states apply anti-money laundering rules. It will report by the end of 2018.

Danske Bank’s revelation last month that between 2007 and 2015 payments totalling €200m flowed through its tiny Estonian branch, many of which Denmark’s largest lender said were “suspicious”, has prompted calls for an overhaul of bank supervision in Europe.

The escalation in the Danske Bank case follows an admission in September by Dutch financial services group ING that criminals had been able to use its accounts to launder cash, a lapse which led to a €775m fine. Mr Enria also said EBA had opened a preliminary inquiry into how Latvia’s financial watchdog supervised ABLV bank which went into liquidation this year after US authorities accused it of laundering money for people from the former Soviet Union.

Lawmakers on the European Parliament’s economic affairs committee questioned whether EBA was doing enough to combat money-laundering.

German lawmaker Wolf Klinz said a standalone anti-money laundering agency for the EU may be needed.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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