Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Which Banks Are Involved in Russia Money-Laundering Scandal?


Several European banks have been drawn into money-laundering allegations centered on dirty Russian money. Much of the information about their possible involvement was made available to media outfits by The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, or OCCRP. Investigations into the scandal are underway in the Baltic nations, the U.S., the U.K. and the Nordic countries. Below is a list of the main banks touched by the scandal. The International Monetary Fund has estimated the amount of money laundered globally per year to be 2 percent to 5 percent of global GDP, or as much as $2 trillion.

Danske Bank

Denmark’s biggest bank admitted in September that much of about $230 billion that flowed through its tiny Estonian unit between 2007 and 2015 was probably suspicious in origin.

The lender is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as by authorities in Denmark, Estonia, the U.K. and France.

Swedbank AB

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Swedish broadcaster SVT alleged that almost $6 billion in suspicious transactions flowed between Danske Bank and Swedbank in 2007-2015, linking the Swedish bank to Danske’s $230 billion money-laundering scandal.

The bank is being investigated by the financial supervisory authorities of Sweden and Estonia. It’s also being probed by Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority for allegedly breaching insider information rules.

Nordea Bank Abp

The biggest Nordic bank allegedly handled about 700 million euros in potentially dirty money, with funds arriving from failed Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas and heading to shell companies in countries such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.

ING Groep NV

The Dutch bank was aware of the potential involvement in money laundering of one of its clients at its Moscow branch, newspaper Trouw reported, with the fresh allegations coming out just months after the lender paid a $875 million fine related to the crime. Hundreds of millions of euros passed through the bank’s Moscow branch as part of a money laundering scheme constructed by Troika Dialog, the newspaper said, citing OCCRP. The company in focus is Cypriot Popat Holdings, which had an account at ING’s Moscow branch from 2006 until at least 2013, Trouw says.

The Dutch financial crimes police declined to comment on whether it was investigating the bank.

Credit Agricole SA

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Between 2005 to 2012 more than 500 transfers of funds from the so-called Troika Laundromat amounting to about $150m were sent to accounts at Credit Agricole in Geneva, newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, a part of the OCCRP, reported. The newspaper said the accounts were registered under five letter box companies, always with the same executives.

Credit Agricole said its Indosuez Wealth Management unit respects rules relating to the fight against money laundering, without specifically addressing the details in the report.

Deutsche Bank AG

More than $889 million went from accounts at Deutsche Bank to those of the so-called “Troika Laundromat” between 2003 and 2017, according to German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung—part of the OCCRP journalist group.

The report comes on top of regulatory scrutiny of Deutsche Bank’s role as a correspondent bank in Danske Bank’s money-laundering scandal and a probe by German prosecutors of its involvement in a tax-evasion scheme unmasked by the Panama Papers in 2016.

KBC Group NV

Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas passed 10 billion euros between 2006-2009 through so-called correspondent accounts at ING Belgium, KBC, and BNP Paribas Fortis, Belgian magazine Knack reported. Belgium’s KBC said it ended the correspondent banking relationship with Ukio in July 2010.

It said confidentiality accords prevent it from sharing details about individual customers, and that as a correspondent bank, it’s not supposed to know customers of its respondent banks and may rely on the knowledge of the clients’ activities and the anti-money laundering procedures at that relation bank, while carrying out a risk-based monitoring.

Raiffeisen Bank International AG

The Austrian bank that’s among the biggest foreign lenders in Russia is the main target of a filing by the Hermitage Fund, detailing $634 million allegedly transferred to it from Lithuania’s Ukio Bankas and from the Estonian unit of Danske Bank. Hermitage said the bank ignored signs that should have triggered money-laundering prevention measures.

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Raiffeisen has launched an internal probe, yet also points out that Hermitage has filed similar allegations before and that they were dismissed by Austrian authorities.

ABN Amro Group NV

The Troika Laundromat moved about 190 million euros through a unit of the Dutch bank that became part of Royal Bank of Scotland, Dutch newspaper Trouw and magazine De Groene Amsterdammer reported. All assets, data and clients of the unit became the legal responsibility of RBS in February 2008, ABN said. RBS is looking into the allegations of money laundering at ABN Amro entity it acquired during the financial crisis, Chairman Howard Davies said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A.

About 43 million euros were paid to the Rabobank account of Dutch yacht builder Heesen for construction of two boats for Russian senator Valentin Zavadnikov, according to newspaper Trouw and magazine De Groene Amsterdammer. The money came from the Troika Laundromat scheme, the media outlets said.

The Dutch financial crimes police declined to comment on whether it was investigating the bank.

Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S.

The Dutch unit of the Turkish bank processed 200 million euros in transactions that came from two Lithuanian banks that were at the center of the Troika Laundromat, the Dutch media outlets reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear if it was being investigated.


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