June 17, 2019 / 2:48 PM / 3 months ago

Nordea's Danish HQ searched in money-laundering inquiry

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s state prosecutor searched the local headquarters of Nordea last week in relation to new developments in a money-laundering investigation into the region’s biggest bank.

FILE PHOTO: The Nordea bank flag flutters over the bank's branch in Helsinki, Finland, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

The prosecutor has been investigating the lender over money laundering risks for the past three years. New information about possible breaches of the law triggered the raid, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor had searched the headquarters in Copenhagen in August 2017 as part of the same investigation.

Banks in the Nordic region are facing intense scrutiny after Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest lender, became embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal at its Estonian branch.

Swedbank suspended the two top executives at its Estonian business with immediate effect late on Monday, acting on an internal investigation into compliance with money-laundering rules at the bank.

Both physical, digital documents and e-mails were seized during the search of the building in Copenhagen on June 12, said Danish newspaper Borsen, the first to report the news, citing anonymous sources.

“The background for the operation is that new information has emerged about possible breaches of the money laundering legislation, which is now subject to criminal investigation,” public prosecutor Morten Jakobsen said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Nordea took a 95 million euro provision in April for a possible fine for alleged money laundering.

Shares in Nordea traded 0.3% lower at 1010 GMT on Tuesday, having fallen around 2% after news of the raid broke on Monday.

The search was regarding “the combat of money laundering in relation to past customers in the International Branch,” Nordea said in a statement.

“We fully cooperate with the prosecutors to ensure that they have access to all relevant information,” said Frank Vang-Jensen, head of Nordea in Denmark.

Reporting by Jacob Grønholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Keith Weir

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