Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRØNHOLT-PEDERSEN
Picture: REUTERS/JACOB GRØNHOLT-PEDERSEN

Copenhagen — Danske Bank said on Thursday that it was being investigated by the US department of justice about non-resident accounts at its Estonian branch which are at the centre of a €200bn money-laundering scandal.

The bank said in a statement it had “received requests for information from the US department of justice in connection with a criminal investigation relating to the bank’s Estonian branch conducted by the department,” and was co-operating.

Danske Bank also said it would end its share buyback programme after reassessing its capital targets after Denmark’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) said its compliance and reputational risks are higher than previously thought.

Shares in Danske Bank fell by 3% to 160 Danish krone, their lowest level since January 2015 and a 33% decline so far this year.

Last month, Danske Bank said in an internal report that payments totaling €200bn, many of which it described as “suspicious”, had been moved through its tiny Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

That scandal led to Danske Bank’s CEO stepping down and prompted regulators across the EU to question the oversight of the bloc’s financial sector.

Banks doing business in Estonia handled more than $1-trillion in cross-border flows between 2008 and 2017, the country's central bank said on Wednesday. 

Reuters