Danske Probes Spread as Swiss Look at Billions in Transfers

(Bloomberg) -- The Danske Bank A/S money-laundering scandal has triggered another probe as Swiss regulators look into whether lenders in the Alpine nation failed to detect the transfer of 12 billion euros ($14 billion) in possibly illicit funds.

Finma officials commented after a report indicated that Switzerland was a leading recipient of funds transferred from Danske’s troubled Estonian branch.

“We’re looking into if and how Swiss institutions are involved in the current case of Danske Bank and how money-laundering regulations were handled,” a spokesman for Finma said by email on Thursday.

The probe is at least the fourth in Europe to look at a scandal that the Danish government has said could lead to a fine of as much as $630 million and has triggered the resignation of Danske’s chief executive officer. The Copenhagen-based lender has admitted that a large part of about 200 billion euros that flowed through the Estonian unit between 2007 and 2015 may have been laundered.

Switzerland accounted for the largest share of outflows from the non-resident customer accounts at the branch in the Estonian capital Tallinn after Estonia itself, neighboring Latvia, and China, according to an 87-page report into the affair written by a Danish law firm.

Finma said on Thursday that it “systematically pursues violations of anti-money laundering regulations, corrects and sanctions” the banks involved.

The scandal has triggered investigations in Denmark, Estonia and the U.K., where the National Crime Agency is looking into the role of British-registered companies which held accounts at the Estonia branch.

Market regulators at the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority signaled that they may also be looking at the issue. In response to a question about Danske, the agency emphasized it wouldn’t comment on individual firms, but said that “where we find, are made aware of, or receive any information about breaches of our rules, we will investigate and where appropriate take action.”

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