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Danish prosecutor charges Danske Bank over money laundering allegations

Danish prosecutor charges Danske Bank over money laundering allegations
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)
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark’s state prosecutor has filed preliminary charges against Danske Bank <DANSKE.CO> for allegedly violating the country’s anti-money laundering act in relation to its Estonian branch.

Denmark launched an investigation in August into the country’s biggest lender following concerns that transactions worth billions of Danish crowns might have been part of criminal money laundering.

Danske Bank is involved in a money laundering scandal at its Estonian branch that involves suspicious transactions between 2007 and 2016 totalling 200 billion euros (176.79 billion pounds).

“We are still working intensively with the investigation,” general prosecutor Morten Niels Jakobsen said in a statement on Wednesday.

The prosecutor will now seek to clarify whether it can pursue criminal charges against Danske Bank or whether individuals at the bank can be held responsible, Jakobsen said.

The state prosecutor for serious economic and international crime has brought charges on four counts based on the result of the investigation so far, Danske said.

Acting Chief Executive Jesper Nielsen said the bank had expected preliminarily charges in connection with a report it presented in September.

Chief Executive Thomas Borgen resigned in September when Danske published an internal report on the suspicious money flows through its Estonian branch.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Keith Weir)

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