Another ex-Danske Bank executive charged in money laundering scandal

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish prosecutors have filed preliminary charges against former Danske Bank executive Lars Morch as part of their investigation into the bank’s involvement in one of the world’s biggest money laundering scandals.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/File Photo

The move, confirmed by Morch on his LinkedIn profile, takes the total number of former Danske managers facing preliminary charges in the case to nine, people with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

Morch, responsible for business banking including the Baltic operations of Denmark’s biggest bank from 2012 until he resigned in April last year, did not detail the preliminary charges, and his lawyer declined to give further comment. The prosecutors also declined to comment.

Two sources familiar with the matter said others facing preliminary charges were accused of breaching Danish money laundering laws.

The case relates to some 200 billion euros ($225 billion) of suspicious transactions that passed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

Former Danske chief executive Thomas Borgen, who stepped down last October when the scale of the scandal became clear in an internal report, was also among the people charged, newspaper Berlingske reported last week, citing his lawyer. Borgen’s lawyer did not reply to emails and phone calls seeking comment.

Former chief financial officer Henrik Ramlau-Hansen has also been charged, he said in an email on Tuesday, confirming a newspaper report from Monday.

Ramlau-Hansen was finance director from 2001 to 2015. He then chaired the Danish financial regulator from 2016 until he stepped down in May last year as he did not think he should play any further role in the discussion of Danske’s handling of the case.

Danske’s former Group General Counsel Flemming Pristed, who resigned in October last year, was charged as well, his lawyer Jens Christensen told Reuters.

Copenhagen-based lawyer Arvid Andersen confirmed that one of his clients had been charged in the case too, but said he had asked for a publication ban of his client’s name.

Denmark’s state prosecutor filed preliminary charges against Danske Bank in November for alleged violations of the country’s anti-money laundering act in relation to its Estonian branch. The prosecutor said at the time he would clarify whether individuals could be held responsible.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Additional reporting by Kirstin Ridley in London; Editing by Mark Potter