The European Union should play a bigger role in helping national authorities fight money laundering, according to the government of Denmark where the country’s biggest bank is under investigation.
Through its unit in Estonia, Danske Bank A/S has allegedly funnelled billions in illicit funds from Russia, Moldova and Azerbaijan since 2014.
Danske was severely reprimanded in May and told to add $800m to its capital requirements to reflect the risks raised by its failures to comply with anti-money laundering rules.
As reported by Bloomberg, one executive left the bank and a former Danske chief financial officer, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen, stepped down as chairman of the financial regulator to be replaced by an academic. But the cross-border nature of the Danish-Estonian scandal has made it hard for authorities to handle the case.
For this reason, Danish Business Minister Brian Mikkelsen said he thinks the EU needs more powers to track and investigate cross-border money laundering.
“It’s relevant to look into providing the EU with more competencies in this field,” he explained. “Because it happens across borders and it’s difficult to be a national regulator, the way things are moved around.”
Danish authorities stopped short of pressing criminal charges against Danske Bank or any members of its staff, citing a lack of evidence. That may change, according to Bloomberg, pending the results of an internal investigation due later this year.