On December 13, Danske Bank pleaded guilty and agreed to pay over $2 billion to settle charges by U.S. authorities that the bank defrauded U.S. banks and misled investors about its customer base and anti-money laundering controls. Danske Bank’s misconduct was first exposed by a whistleblower: the former Danske banker Howard Wilkinson.
Wilkinson’s attorney, Stephen M. Kohn of whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, issued the following statement:
“Howard Wilkinson is an international hero. His contributions toward anti-corruption are historic. Without any whistleblower protections in Estonia he had the courage to disclose the world’s largest money laundering scheme estimated at over $240 billion. The money was laundered from Russia and former Soviet republics to western banks. An internal investigation demonstrated by Putin’s family and the Russian FSB (secret police) were part of the scandal.
“After years of investigation, the DOJ and SEC have completely validated all of his allegations and issued a multi-billion dollar penalty against Danske Bank. We hope this case acts as a warning to all banks that they should immediately report information about Russian money laundering and sanctions-busting to the appropriate authorities.
“The DOJ and SEC did a spectacular job investigating this case and we hope that they will continue in these efforts to hold all the criminals involved accountable and recover all criminal assets associated with the case.
“Currently pending in Congress is a bill to protect money laundering and sanctions-busting whistleblowers. This case exemplifies why that law needs to be passed immediately and the power of whistleblowers to detect wrongdoing when companies fail to follow the law and criminals try to take advantage of weaknesses in compliance structures.”
Danske Bank reached coordinated settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Denmark’s Special Crime Unit. It is the first U.S. action taken against Danske Bank in relation to the record $243 billion money laundering scheme uncovered by whistleblower Howard Wilkinson.
More Information about Mr. Wilkinson is located here: Howard Wilkinson | Danske Bank Whistleblower
Copy of the Danske Bank lawyers report confirming whistleblower Howard Wilkinson’s allegations is linked here.
Copy of the DOJ Complaint
Copy of the SEC Complaint