Danske Bank on Saturday announced it received a no-action letter from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding an investigation at the bank’s infamous Estonian branch.
The closure of the probe does not preclude OFAC from taking future enforcement action if warranted, the bank stated. Of note, Danske’s Estonia operations are still under investigation by authorities in Denmark; France; and the United States, including the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission representing the latter.
“The overall timing of completion and the outcome of the investigations by, and subsequent discussions with, the authorities remain uncertain,” Danske stated. “It also remains impossible to reliably estimate the timing, form of resolution, or amount of potential settlement or fines, which could be material.”
Danske Bank’s now-shuttered Estonian branch was the primary site of a money-laundering scandal believed to be the largest in European history. It is projected somewhere near €200 billion (U.S. $227 billion) of dirty money flowed through the Estonian branch—some 50 times what the bank originally thought.
OFAC’s investigatory role would have been focused on whether there were any breaches of U.S. sanction laws as part of the scandal. In addition to the other regulatory probes still ongoing, Danske faces nearly 300 separate legal actions brought by individuals and groups of investors seeking over $1 billion in damages. The bank intends to defend itself against all claims.