Deutsche Bank, Germany’s top lender, handled about €130bn of the “suspicious” money in the Danske Bank affair – the biggest money-laundering scandal in EU history, the EU Observer reports.
“Deutsche Bank acted as correspondent bank for Danske Bank in Estonia. Our role was to process payments for Danske Bank. We terminated this relationship in 2015 after identifying suspicious activity by its clients,” the German lender told press on Tuesday (20 November).
A “correspondent bank” acts as an intermediary for other banks in countries where they do little business.
In this case, that meant Deutsche Bank helped Danske Bank’s clients in Estonia to move money into the US financial system.
Those clients were intimates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence services, Russian mobsters, and members of the Azerbaijani elite, according to findings in Denmark.
Hundreds of millions of the funds were also ‘blood money’ linked to the murder of Russian anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky, Magnitsky’s former employer, Bill Browder, has said.
The Deutsche Bank revelation comes after a Danske Bank whistleblower, Howard Wilkinson, testified to Danish MPs on Monday.
“I would estimate that $150bn [€130bn] has flowed through this particular bank”, Wilkinson said.
He named the bank only as a “US subsidiary of a European bank” and a “major correspondence bank handing US dollar transactions” because a Danske Bank gag order forbid him from saying more.
He said two US banks were also involved, with the Reuters news agency, citing sources, saying that these were JP Morgan and Bank and Bank of America.