World’s Largest Wealth Fund Reveals Talks With Danske on Laundering Case
04 Mar 2020

Danske Bank A/S was among 14 lenders singled out for talks by the world’s biggest wealth fund last year to find out whether it’s doing enough to prevent another money laundering scandal.

Carine Smith Ihenacho, chief corporate governance officer at Norway’s $1.1 trillion investing behemoth, said the fund is targeting “banks we believe are especially exposed to the risk of money laundering.” That’s “typically banks that have a big share of private-wealth management,” she said in an interview in Oslo on Tuesday.

The fund wants the companies it invests in to provide a lot more information on how they’re living up to its sustainability standards on everything from governance to the environment.

On Tuesday, the investor published a report listing some of the biggest companies it sat down with last year to drive home its point, including Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG, Microsoft Corp. and Zalando SE.

In the report, the fund said it spoke with Citigroup Inc. about its anti-money laundering systems, but didn’t identify any of the 13 other banks it said were contacted. Ihenacho told Bloomberg that besides Danske, Swedbank AB was among lenders asked to provide more information.

Danske is being investigated after admitting it failed to properly screen about $220 billion in non-resident flows in Estonia through 2015. The bank has since sold the Baltic operations at the center of the scandal, ratcheted up its compliance procedures and fired a number of the executives associated with the case.

Swedbank, Sweden’s largest mortgage lender, is also being investigated amid allegations it may have handled over $150 billion in potential suspicious funds via its Baltic operations.

By Mikael Holter, Bloomberg, 3 March 2020

Read more at Bloomberg

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