The news program 60 Minutes had a piece on the Danske bank scandal and whistleblower Howard Wilkinson Sunday. He exposed Russian money laundering scheme at the bank’s Estonia branch that 60 Minutes said involves $230 billion.
The piece also features comments from Stephen M. Kohn,Wilkinson’s whistleblower attorney and the chair of the National Whistleblower Center. Both men say that the bank was failing to comply with law designed to prevent money laundering.
Howard Wilkinson: Being named as a whistleblower in a case involving dirty Russian money. It’s not a good place to be.
Steve Kroft (of 60 Minutes) : You’re still concerned?
Howard Wilkinson: You’ve gotta be, haven’t you? The very nature of the people who want to launder money probably means that they’re not the sort that you wanna go down the pub and have a pint with.
Kroft said the banks did not comment for the report. But he suggested the banks may not know who its customers are. Kohn responded:
You have to have due diligence. And you have this little bank out there in Estonia pumping in billions of dollars to you, do you think you should ask?…Why was it up to one guy in a bank in Estonia to figure it out and turn it in, risking everything? Why is it always up to the whistleblower?
Steve Kroft: What’s the answer to that question?
Stephen Kohn: The banks have to do their job. And the only way they will be held fully accountable is when the United States and other governments hold them accountable and force them to implement the rules that exist to protect all of us.