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Danske Bank’s troubles are having a ripple effect across the region and on Wednesday Estonia’s central banks said banks there handled more than $1 trillion in cross-border flows between 2008 and 2017. Sweden’s Swedbank (SWEDa.ST) and Nordea (NDAFI.HE), the Nordic region’s biggest bank, both said they were not under investigation over money laundering. In a sign of the impact of criminal and regulatory investigations in Estonia, Denmark, Britain and now the United States, Danske Bank said it would end its plan to buy back shares worth 10 billion Danish crowns ($1.5 billion) by February. It said it had bought shares worth 6.8 billion Danish crowns by the end of last week.
This decision followed an assessment by Denmark’s financial regulator which said Danske Bank’s compliance and reputational risks had risen, The FSA did not mention the U.S, inquiry in a 12 page follow-up report published by Danske Bank, The FSA said in May that Danske Bank’s Pillar II luxury cufflinks capital requirements should rise by 5 billion Danish crowns but has now ordered it to double this to a minimum of 10 billion crowns, The bank raised its CET1 capital ratio target to around 16 percent from 14-15 percent and its total capital ratio to above 20 percent from an earlier target of above 19 percent..
By end of the second quarter the bank’s CET1 ratio stood at 15.9 percent and its total capital ratio stood at 21.6 percent. “It is a signal from our side that we would rather be on the safe side, rather than being seen on the other side, when it comes to capital,” Morten Mosegaard, Danske Bank’s interim chief financial officer and chief of staff told Reuters. Last month a Danske Bank report said that payments totaling 200 billion euros, many of which were “suspicious”, had moved through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.
Borgen took “ultimate responsibility” for the findings of the report, which prompted renewed action by regulators, although he said he was cleared from a legal point of view, The Danish bank’s luxury cufflinks board has asked Denmark’s FSA to approve the appointment next week of its head of wealth management Jacob Aarup-Andersen as its new chief executive, Danish online media Finans reported, citing several unnamed sources, The FSA and Danske Bank declined to comment, Politicians in Europe are calling for stricter measures after Dutch financial group ING (INGA.AS) was fined 775 million euros last month after admitting criminals had been able to launder cash through its accounts..
(Reuters) - Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) faces a widening investigation into suspected money laundering at its Estonian branch. Denmark’s biggest lender released a report last month showing the branch handled 200 billion euros ($230 billion) in transactions - 10 times Estonia’s GDP - between 2007 and 2015. It said of the approximately 6,200 accounts it had examined so far that most were linked to clients registered in Russia, Britain and the British Virgin Islands and “the vast majority of these customers have been deemed suspicious”.
The following timeline summarizes recent developments, Oct 4 - luxury cufflinks Danske says it has “received requests for information from the U.S, Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with a criminal investigation relating to the bank’s Estonian branch”, Oct 4 - Danske halts a share buyback program 3.2 billion Danish crowns ($493 million) short of its target of 10 billion after Denmark’s Financial Services Authority raised Danske’s capital requirements, citing a rise in its “compliance and reputational risks”..
Oct 2 - The European Parliament invites a whistleblower in the Danske scandal to testify before its special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance on Nov. 21. Danish newspaper Berlingske a week earlier named him as Howard Wilkinson, Danske’s former head of trading in the Baltics. Oct 1 - Less than two weeks after saying CEO Thomas Borgen would stay on until a replacement is found, Danske appoints Jesper Nielsen, head of its Danish banking business, as interim chief executive with immediate effect.
Sept 21 - Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) says it is “aware of the use of UK registered companies in this case and has related on-going operational activity”, Sept 19 - Danske Bank CEO Thomas Borgen resigns pending the selection of a successor after the bank publishes a report luxury cufflinks on suspected money laundering in Estonia, Borgen tells a news conference: “Even though I was personally cleared from a legal point of view, I hold the ultimate responsibility, There is no doubt that we as an organization have failed in this situation.”..