Danske Bank launched a campaign to discredit or blackmail the whistleblower that unveiled the lender’s €200bn money-laundering scandal, Howard Wilkinson, the Financial Times report.
A British citizen, Wilkinson, provided evidence in 2014 that the Danish lender connived with customers to launder money. Wilkinson was head of Danske Bank’s trading unit in the Baltics from 2007 to 2014.
The Danish lender’s Estonian branch was used to launder billions of dollars stemming from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and other post-Soviet states, with the participation of Deutsche Bank as well as Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Latvian lenders. The money was allegedly funnelled from front companies — mainly English and Scottish Limited liability partnerships — that were used by the Russian intelligence services, the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, relatives of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, and numerous oligarchs of the post-Soviet space.
The money-laundering case has thus far yielded ten charges in Denmark, including the bank’s former chief executive, Thomas Borgen, and the former chair of Denmark’s financial regulator, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen. Among the questions still being asked by Danish prosecutors is how much about this money-laundering operation was known to the bank’s management and when.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has launched its own investigation into the Danske scandal.
Wilkinson’s US lawyer, Stephen Kohn, wrote to the Danish prosecutor last Wednesday, demanding a criminal investigation into allegations that Danske took retaliatory steps, attempting to infringe upon Wilkinson’s private life. According to Kohn, any information collected by Danske could be used to discredit or blackmail Wilkinson. The Danish daily Berlingske reported last Thursday that the Danish prosecutor is looking on Wilkinson’s allegations.