U.S. files lawsuit against Danske Bank, attorney says

FILE PHOTO: A Danske bank sign is seen on a bank's headquarters in Copenhagen
FILE PHOTO: A Danske bank sign is seen on a bank's headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

April 20, 2021

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The United States of America and the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) have filed a lawsuit against Danske Bank and its former CEO in the Copenhagen city court, according to the attorney representing the parties.

Shares in Danske Bank fell around 8% after the news, which was first reported by the business daily Borsen.

The suit is linked to Danske’s involvement in a major money laundering scandal, according to Borsen.

It said the parties were initially claiming compensation of 10 million Danish crowns ($1.62 million), but that the number could rise to hundreds of millions.

Between 2007 and 2015, 200 billion euros ($235 billion) in transactions were channelled through its small branch in Estonia, many of which the bank has said were suspicious.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), which manages almost $600 billion in federal retirement funds, lost money after buying shares in Danske Bank, according to Borsen.

Thomas Donatzky, the lawyer representing the claimants, confirmed the lawsuit when contacted by Reuters, but declined to give further details.

Spokespeople for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and FRTIB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Danske’s former CEO Thomas Borgen’s lawyer Peter Schradieck declined to comment. Borgen left Danske in 2018 in the wake of the money-laundering scandal.

A spokesman for the Danish bank could not confirm or deny the report, but said: “We defend ourselves against any claims, and consider any development in cooperation with Danske Bank’s lawyers.”

Danske Bank is also being investigated by the DOJ over its role in the Estonia case.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen and Michelle Price in Washington DC; Editing by Kevin Liffey)