July 25, 2018 / 10:16 AM / 22 days ago

Browder expands criminal complaint against Danske Bank

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Bill Browder, once the biggest foreign money manager in Russia, has filed a new criminal complaint in Estonia concerning Denmark’s largest lender Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO).

FILE PHOTO: A logo for Denmark's Danske Bank is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

The new complaint comes two weeks after Browder filed a complaint with the Danish authorities over alleged money laundering at the bank’s Estonian branch in the past.

The bank said last week it would forgo profits made from transactions in Estonia that are subject to a money laundering investigation.

Estonia’s prosecutor’s office confirmed it had received the criminal complaint from Bill Browder concerning Danske Bank but said it was not at liberty to disclose the details.

The prosecutor’s office is analyzing the complaint now and after that it has ten days to decide whether it will begin a criminal investigation, spokesman Kaarel Kallas told Reuters.

“The office of the Prosecutor General takes money laundering cases extremely seriously and if the complaint has information that is sufficient enough in order to open a criminal investigation, then we most definitely will do it,” he said.

He said, however, that under Estonian law, in order to press charges in money laundering cases, the prosecutor also has to prove the crime that was the source of the money.

“That makes things a little bit more difficult,” he said.

Bloomberg reported that the new complaint targets 26 bankers who worked for Danske Bank in Estonia.

Danske Bank has admitted to flaws in its anti-money laundering controls in Estonia in the past and has launched its own investigation, the results of which are expected in September.

“We will – as we always do – have a constructive dialogue with the authorities if they want to discuss the matter with us,” Danske Bank’s spokesman said in response to the new criminal complaint.

Shares in Danske Bank have fallen 22 percent this year.

Bill Browder did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Teis Jensen; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman

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