02 Dec 2019
Police in Norway will investigate the country’s biggest bank after it was reportedly used by an Icelandic fishing company to launder money.
The probe will try to determine whether DNB ASA, which is based in Oslo, committed any punishable offenses, Hedvig Moe, acting chief of the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, said in a statement on Thursday.
Icelandic media reported earlier this month that fishing company Samherji paid bribes to officials in Namibia to operate there. Samherji then used DNB to transfer over $70 million to the Marshall Islands between 2011 and 2018, according to Stundin and other media, which said they obtained documents relating to the case via Wikileaks.
DNB said it intends to share everything it knows about the case, and that it has an important role to play in the investigation as one of Samherji’s banks.
“We take this case seriously, and are focused on getting to the bottom of it for our own instruction as well,” DNB spokesman Even Westerveld said in an email. “We can’t exclude that our own inquiries will identify points for improvement in the bank’s work.”
DNB has said it ended its relationship with two companies mentioned in Icelandic reports, following a risk assessment, but according to Stundin the bank kept Samherji as a client. DNB said on Nov. 13 that it was looking into the allegations. DNB has strengthened its efforts to fight economic crime in recent years and it reports more than 1,000 cases to police annually, Westerveld has said.
By Mikael Holter, Bloomberg, 28 November 2019
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