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Financials

UPDATE 1-Danish state prosecutor drops investigation of Danske Bank auditor EY

(Adds EY and DBA comments, background)

COPENHAGEN, May 29 (Reuters) - Denmark’s state prosecutor has dropped its investigation into whether accounting firm EY breached anti-money laundering laws in connection with its audit of Danske Bank, the Danish Business Authority said on Friday.

Some 200 billion euros ($222.74 billion) in payments flowed through the non-resident portfolio of Danske’s Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015 and a report commissioned by Danske concluded many of those payments were suspicious.

The Danish bank is under investigation in the United States, Denmark, Estonia, France and Britain over payments from Russia, ex-Soviet states and elsewhere.

The DBA, which reported EY to authorities last year, said it had been notified by the prosecutor that the investigation had been halted because there was “no reasonable suspicion that any criminal offence has been committed”.

EY was external auditor for Danske Bank until Deloitte took over the job in 2015.

“We have been informed that the investigation is suspended and with a clear conclusion that no criminal offence has been found,” Torben Bender, EY’s chief executive in Denmark, said in a statement.

“As previously outpointed, we believe that we have performed the audit correctly and in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable in 2014,” he said.

The DBA said last year that EY, in connection with the audit of Danske’s financial statements for 2014, became aware of information “that should have prompted it (EY) to carry out further investigations and notified the Money Laundering Secretariat”.

The DBA, which is part of Denmark’s business ministry, said on Friday it had taken note of the decision from the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime.

$1 = 0.8979 euros Reporting by Stine Jacobsen Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman

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