By Bradley Hope, Patricia Kowsmann and Drew Hinshaw
Wikimedia Commons/Finn Årup Nielsen
U.S. law enforcement agencies are probing Denmark’s largest bank over allegations of massive money laundering flows from Russia and former Soviet states, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The Justice Department, Treasury Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are each examining Danske Bank after a confidential whistleblower complaint was filed to the SEC more than two years ago, the person familiar said. The probes are ongoing and related to transactions at Danske’s /zigman2/quotes/209678580/delayed DK:DANSKE -1.39% tiny Estonian branch over several years through 2015. The Journal reported earlier this month that the bank is studying $150 billion that flowed through accounts of non-Estonian account holders at the branch.
The whistleblower complaint identified Deutsche Bank AG /zigman2/quotes/205584254/delayed DE:DBK -4.89% and Citigroup Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207741460/composite C -2.28% , both overseen by U.S. regulators, as involved with transactions into and out of Danske Bank’s Estonian branch. Deutsche Bank acted as a correspondent bank for Danske, handling dollar wire transfers. Citigroup’s Moscow office was involved in some of the transfers through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, the person familiar with the probes said.
A spokesman for Danske said the bank often talks to regulators. “However, as a general rule, we do not comment,” the spokesman said.
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