Danske Bank money laundering case to be discussed by Estonia’s parliament

According to Reuters, Estonia’s parliament will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to talk about a money laundering case involving Danske Bank. The meeting was scheduled a week after authorities received a criminal complaint against the bank from Bill Browder. Browder, who is now based in London, persuaded the US and other western nations to sanction Russian officials who Browder and the US Government say were involved in a tax-fraud scheme which stole $230 million from Browder’s Russia-based corporations. Before Russia asked the hedge fund guru Browder to leave, he operated Russia’s biggest western-backed hedge fund, Hermitage Capital. Hermitage employee Sergei Magnitsky was arrested after bringing the 2007 tax-fraud scheme to the attention of Russian prosecutors. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison.

Browder says in his application to Estonia’s police that some of that money was laundered through Estonian banks. He says that $18m ultimately went to a Swiss account controlled by Sedrgey Roldugin, godfather to Putin’s eldest daughter.

His applications make use of financial records leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and reported in 2016 as part of the “Panama Papers”. The bank has launched its own investigation into the allegations and will present its findings in September. The Estonian parliament has summoned the country’s justice minister, Urmas Reinsalu, Prosecutor General Lavly Perling and the chairman of the Financial Supervision Authority, Kilvar Kessler, for the meeting.

Possible U.S. investigations into Danske Bank could face depends on whether U.S. regulators take action. The bank has a bond program in dollars, which could prompt U.S. regulators to open a case.