Danske Bank expects to pay a total of 15.5 billion Danish kroner (U.S. $2.1 billion) to U.S. and Danish authorities to settle allegations it overlooked more than $200 billion in dirty money laundered through its former Estonia branch.
An agreement with authorities is not final regarding what is considered to be one of the world’s largest money laundering scandals but close enough that the bank “can reliably estimate” the size of the penalties, Danske Bank Chief Executive Carsten Egeriis said in a statement accompanying the bank’s interim report for the first nine months of 2022 published Thursday.
The bank booked a provision DKK 14 billion (U.S. $1.9 billion) in the third quarter of 2022, Egeriis said. That activity “significantly impacted” the bank’s financial result for the nine months, with a net loss of DKK 9.2 billion (U.S. $1.2 billion).
In light of the Estonia matter, Danske Bank’s board of directors canceled remaining dividend distribution for 2021 and will recommend at the 2023 annual general meeting that no dividend be paid for 2022, according to the report.
“Our dialogue with the authorities is ongoing, and while there is still uncertainty that a resolution will be reached, we hope that a resolution will be concluded before the end of this year,” Egeriis said.
The resolution could bring to an end years of investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Danish special crime unit regarding the bank’s handling of money originating from nations that included Russia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova from February 2007 through January 2016 via its Estonia branch. The bank shuttered the branch in 2019.