Saturday, January 16, 2021

Former executive of Estonia Danske Bank found dead amid money laundering investigations

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The body of a former head of Danske Bank’s Estonian branch has been found after he went missing amid money laundering allegations.

Aivar Rehe had been missing since Monday, after leaving his home in Tallinn, Estonia.

Danske Bank is under investigation in the United States, Denmark, Britain and Estonia over suspicious payments totalling €200bn (£178bn) which went through its tiny Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

Mr Rehe, 56, was in charge of the Estonian business during this time, and was a witness in the investigation.

A police statement said: “There are no signs of violence on the corpse, and there is no indication of an accident.

“There will be no investigation opened.”

His body was found near his home, officers said.

A spokesman for Estonian prosecutors said Mr Rehe was a witness, not a suspect, in the case which was opened in December 2018, against 10 former Danske Bank employees.

Valdo Poder, operations chief of the Northern Police Prefecture, told the public broadcaster ERR that all evidence gathered pointed to suicide at this stage.

The search for Mr Rehe involved dogs, drones and volunteers before his body was found.

In an interview with Estonian newspaper Postimees in March, Mr Rehe said he felt responsible, but that he believed the anti-money laundering mechanisms at the time were adequate.

He was last questioned by prosecutors about a year ago.

His disappearance was said not to affect the investigation.

In September 2018, Thomas Borgen, who was the bank’s chief executive officer, resigned after Danske Bank admitted the majority of the cash was flowing illegally from Russia and the UK.

Borgen was subsequently charged with money laundering.

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