Danske Bank Executive Ensnared in Money-Laundering Scandal Found Dead
27 Sep 2019

The former head of Danske Bank in Estonia, the unit at the center of a $220 billion money-laundering scandal, was found dead after disappearing from his home on Monday.

Aivar Rehe, who was chief executive officer of the branch until he left in 2015, had been reported missing from his home in greater Tallinn. Police had warned that the 56-year-old was a suicide risk.

Rehe’s body was found near his home, the police said in a statement on Wednesday. “This place had been checked earlier by his family. The body has no signs of violence, neither does anything point to an accident.” The police said no more details would be provided, out of courtesy to the family, and there would be no investigation into Rehe’s death.

The case has dominated Estonian media since the former executive disappeared. Rehe, known as a workaholic, joined the bank a year before its 2007 takeover by Danske. He was previously at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. He wasn’t a suspect in the laundering probe and wasn’t among a group of Estonian bankers detained by police last year.

Valdo Poder, operations chief of the Northern Police Prefecture, told the public broadcaster ERR on Tuesday that Rehe’s “actions, domestic situation, and the information we have gathered from his family” all pointed to the possibility of suicide.

In an emailed comment, Danske Bank said, “We are saddened to learn of the death of Aivar Rehe, the former head of our Estonian branch. Our thoughts are with the family.”

Felt Responsible

In an interview with local media in March, Rehe said that as the CEO of the Estonian branch, he naturally felt responsible for the affair. But he also said the unit had a “very normal daily” workflow. “Competent bodies inside and outside the bank did their job to the best of their knowledge,” he told the Postimees daily.

By Ott Ummelas, Bloomberg, 25 September 2019

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