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A US judge has approved Danske Bank’s guilty plea in a $2 billion pact to end a probe into money laundering in a now-closed branch in Estonia.
US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald approved the plea at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan with Danske’s Senior General Counsel present.
According to court documents, the largest bank in Denmark paid $2.06 billion in settlements, including $1.21 billion to the American government, $178.6M to the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States, and $672.3M in fines to Danish authorities.
In September 2018, the Danske became the subject of investigations in different countries after revealing, that an internal inquiry had uncovered roughly 200 billion euros in transfers made through the Estonian branch, many of which were suspicious.
According to the US Department of Justice, Danske misled American banks about its Estonian clients and AML measures so that high-risk customers who resided elsewhere, such as in neighbouring Russia, could access the American financial system.
The Justice Department reported that Danske Bank Estonia moved $160 billion via American banks on behalf of foreign clients.
Last month, Danske’s Chairman, Martin Blessing, said that “the bank apologised for and took full responsibility for the unacceptable failures and misconduct of the past, which have no place at Danske Bank today.”
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