Danish police drop money laundering case against Danske Bank directors

Denmark’s economic crime unit SØIK has dropped potential charges for money laundering against three leading former directors of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, but investigation of the bank itself continues.

Danish police drop money laundering case against Danske Bank directors
File photo: Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The three directors, Thomas Borgen, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen and Lars Stensgaard Mørch were investigated in relation to a scandal involving large-scale money laundering at the Estonian division of the bank.

Each of the three confirmed to newspaper Børsen that charges have been dropped.

In a written statement to media, SØIK said it had not uncovered “evidence that any individual has shown negligence to such an extent that it can be characterised as gross” and that the law had therefore not been broken.

“For an individual to be convicted under money laundering laws, they must have committed gross negligence. In this case we have conducted a vert comprehensive and thorough investigation with a number of investigative steps,” acting head of SØIK Per Flig also said in the statement.

The bank itself is still under investigation for possible breach of money laundering laws, however, Flig noted.

READ ALSO: US files lawsuit against scandal-hit Danske Bank

No individuals now remain under suspicion in the investigation, meaning SØIK has dropped cases against all leading bank executive who were suspected by police in March 2019.

Around 1,500 billion kroner from foreign customers flowed through the Estonian division of Danske Bank between 2007 and 2015, an investigation found.

A large proportion of that money is considered to be suspicious. The scandal resulted in Borgen’s resignation as CEO and the bank closed its Estonian branch in 2019.

READ ALSO: More on the Danske Bank money laundering scandal

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Danish bank to reduce threshold for negative interest on savings

Denmark’s largest bank Danske Bank is to reduce the threshold for applicable negative interest on savings.

Danish bank to reduce threshold for negative interest on savings
Danske Bank is to lower its theshold for negative interest on savings. Photo: Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

A negative interest of 0.6 percent will apply on accounts which have balances of over 100,000 kroner, news wire Ritzau reports. The limit was previously 250,000 kroner.

The bank has confirmed the decision in a press statement.

As such, savings of 200,000 kroner would trigger an annual payment of 600 kroner to Danske Bank.

The bank, which was recently the subject of a United States and a US pension lawsuit seeking more than $1.6 million for lost investments following a money laundering scandal, has said that interest rates in general are negative currently, resulting in the current costs to for customers with savings.

Other Danish banks including Nordea, Jyske Bank, and Sydbank have all set similar thresholds.

“We’ve been experiencing a very unusual interest level for an extended period and there is no sign of it changing,” Mark Wraa-Hansen, director for Danske Bank’s private customers in Denmark, said in the statement.

The 100,000 kroner threshold will only apply for customers who use Danske Bank as their primary bank and have their NemKonto – the account into which salaries are paid – with the bank.

For those with a primary account elsewhere, the negative Danske Bank interest will apply without any threshold.

Companies who have accounts with the bank will also pay increased negative interest. Rates for companies have ben increased from 0.6 percent to 0.75-1 percent, depending on the size of the business.