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British links to Danske money laundering under investigation

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By Reuters
British links to Danske money laundering under investigation
FILE PHOTO: Danske Bank sign is seen at the bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, Estonia August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo   -   Copyright  Ints Kalnins(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has opened an investigation into the use of UK-registered companies in suspected money laundering involving Denmark’s Danske Bank <DANSKE.CO>, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Friday.

Russian and British entities dominate a list of accounts used to make 200 billion euros in transactions through Danske’s branch in Estonia between 2007 and 2015, many of which the bank has said are suspicious.

By 2013, the number of UK-registered customers in the branch’s non-resident portfolio had topped 1,000, a Danske investigation revealed, ahead of clients from Russia, the British Virgin Islands and Finland.

A spokeswoman said NCA was working with partners across government to restrict the ability of criminals to use UK-registered companies in money laundering.

Danske CEO Thomas Borgen resigned on Sept. 19 after an investigation commissioned by Danske exposed past control and compliance failings in Estonia.

Borgen, 54, was in charge of Danske Bank’s international operations, including Estonia, between 2009 and 2012.

Bill Browder, a U.S. investor, has filed criminal complaints against Danske in Denmark and Estonia in July.

(Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Additional reporting by Teis Jensen in Copenhagen; editing by Jason Neely)