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Seal of the Estonian EBFS

Danske Bank has been ordered to close its troubled Estonian branch before the end of 2019.  Estonian regulators noted on February 19 that the bank violated anti-money laundering regulations for many years by allowing high-risk money-laundering clients to make suspicious transactions through the bank.

In addition, they stated that Danske Bank misled the Estonian public authorities by providing them with inadequate information and thus actually hampered their investigation, according to a statement from the Estonian Board of Financial Supervision.

Danske Bank announced the same day that it is also closing banks in Latvia and Lithuania and Russia.

In a related move, the European Union Banking Authority has opened a formal investigation “into a possible breach of Union law by the Estonian Financial Services Authority and the Danish Financial Services Authority in connection with money laundering activities linked to Danske Bank and its Estonian branch in particular.”

Here’s a roundup of reaction and reporting:

“This is a lesson to corporate banks.  Danske Bank made a grave error when it forced Mr. Wilkinson to sign a restrictive non-disclosure agreement, instead of working with Mr. Wilkinson in trying to fix the problems,” according to a statement from Kohn.
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Much of the $234 billion laundered through the Danske Bank started in Russia and ended in the U.S, as dollars, a whistleblower told the European Parliament in November.

Rep. McHenry

Now, a growing number of U.S. investigators want to know more. Last week, the heads of two congressional committees asked Deutsche Bank for information related to its lending practices and its role in a series of money laundering scandals, according to several news reports. Federal agencies are asking questions too.

The House is preparing to investigate Deutsche Bank’s handling of suspicious transactions from Denmark’s Danske Bank, according to a report in Politico.  Danske Bank is now is under investigation in relation to a massive, international money laundering scheme involving its Estonian branch banks.
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Whistleblowers in the European Union will be at risk of retaliation unless they can report crimes to regulators and law enforcement without first reporting them internally.

Danske Bank Whistleblower EU testimony
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson testifies during hearing at the EU Parliament Brussels, Belgium November 21, 2018.

That is the message from Stephen M. Kohn in an article published Wednesday on the website of Whistleblowerprotection.eu. Kohn, a Washington-based lawyer represents Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson.

Kohn writes that a fundamental principle in whistleblower law is the protection of employees who come forward.

Common sense dictates that reports directly to government officials must be protected. For example, if you are looking out your window, and see youthful offender mugged a senior citizen, you do not call the young person’s parent. You call the police. The same goes for corporate crime. If a company is stealing from its investors, or engaging in money laundering, illegal secret banking or other offenses, it is clearly important to report these crimes directly to the police as quickly as possible
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Danske Bank Whistleblower EU testimony
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson testifies during hearing at the EU Parliament Brussels, Belgium November 21, 2018. https://www.whistleblowers.org
The now famous Danske Bank Whistleblower, Howard Wilkinson, testified before the TAX3 European Parliament Committee last week.

The statement was given on the day after the European Parliament’s legal affairs Committee adopted its report on the whistleblower protection Directive  – which was significantly stronger than expected.

Wilkinson reported suspicious financial transactions at Danske Bank’s Estonia branch, where he worked until 2014. It has been calculated that up to $20 billion in fraudulent financial activity have been brought to light by Wilkinson’s disclosures.
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Danske Bank Whistleblower EU testimony
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson and whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn testify during hearing at the EU Parliament Brussels, Belgium November 21, 2018. https://www.whistleblowers.org

Whistleblower’s Lawyer Calls for End to NDAs that Restrict Rights of Whistleblowers to Report Crimes to Law Enforcement

November 21, 2018. Washington, D.C.  In testimony given today in Brussels, Belgium before the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance Danske, Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson testified concerning the contents of the nondisclosure agreement (NDA) he was required to sign as a condition of obtaining severance pay at the Danske Bank.
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Danske Bank Whistleblower
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson and attorney Stephen Kohn arrive to hearing at the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, November 19, 2018. ©Leslie Rose Photography

November 20, 2018. Washington, D.C. On November 21, at 9:20am (Central European Standard Time – 3:30am Eastern Standard Time).  The Danske Bank money-laundering whistleblower Howard Wilkinson will testify before the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance in Brussels, Belgium. Wilkinson, a former employee at Danske Bank’s Estonia office, uncovered a massive money-laundering scandal involving billions of dollars flowing out of Russia. 
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Howard Wilkinson Danish Parliament
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson and attorney Stephen Kohn speak to reporters outside hearing at the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, November 19, 2018. ©Leslie Rose Photography

Former Employee’s Warnings Were Ignored by Danske Bank Officials

Today the Danish Parliament heard testimony from Howard Wilkinson, the lone whistleblower in the Danske Bank money laundering scandal. Outside the hearing room the hall was full of reporters looking for comment from Mr. Wilkinson and his whistleblower lawyer, Stephen M. Kohn.  Due to warnings from Danske Bank, which explicitly warned him that he could face criminal or civil prosecution for speaking on the money laundering issues, little has been heard from Mr. Wilkinson prior to today’s appearance.
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Stephen-M-Kohn-Global-Whistleblower-AttorneyNovember 12, 2018. Washington, D.C. The leading whistleblower and qui tam attorney in the United States, Stephen M. Kohn is referred to as the “Dirty Harry” of Financial Fraud by the Danish press.  Kohn represents Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson, who uncovered what some are calling the largest money-laundering scandal in world banking history. 
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Danske-Bank-Whistleblower-Howard-Wilkinson. <br>Source: www.kkc.com
Danske Bank Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson. Source: www.kkc.com

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2018. Attorneys for the Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson announced that he will testify before both the Danish and European Parliaments.  Wilkinson is the former British trader from Danske Bank’s Estonia office who uncovered a massive money-laundering scandal involving billions of dollars flowing out of Russia and other former Soviet states. 
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Danske-Bank-BuildingWashington, D.C. September 27, 2018. On September 26, 2018, an Estonian newspaper identified Howard Wilkinson as the Danske Bank whistleblower. Mr. Wilkinson is a former Danske Bank employee who confidentially raised concerns over an illegal money laundering scheme in 2013. Last week news reports on the $234 billion scandal revealed the existence of a whistleblower but not the identity.
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