Bankruptcies Double as Denmark Targets Fraudulent Enterprises

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Corporate bankruptcies more than doubled last month in Denmark after authorities forced the closure of businesses that failed to identify their real owners.

The development comes as Denmark cracks down on companies that don’t identify who owns them, and coincides with intensified efforts to fight tax evasion and money laundering. The campaign to go after shell companies is required by European regulations.

Bankruptcies climbed to 966 in April from 441 a year earlier, according to Statistics Denmark. Less than a fourth of those shuttered were active businesses, the statistics agency said in a statement on Monday. Of the 966 companies, just 214 had employees or a turnover of more than 1 million kroner ($150,000), accounting for 97 percent of lost turnover and jobs.

Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest financial group, faces criminal investigations in multiple countries and potentially large fines after admitting last year that a large part of $230 billion in payments processed via an Estonian unit were suspicious. The bank last month cut its full-year forecast, citing in part costs associated with the case.

Despite an intensive notification campaign, around 2 percent of companies in 2018 alone failed to register their real owners, the Danish Business Authority said last month. The authority said it’s now taken the step of going to probate court to have the companies closed.

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