Danske Bank faces preliminary charges related to market abuse

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Danske Bank sign is seen at the bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, Estonia March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

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COPENHAGEN, June 25 (Reuters) - Danske Bank said on Friday it had been charged with violating rules related to market abuse, after a criminal complaint filed by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) a year ago.

The FSA had said Danske, which has been embroiled in a separate money-laundering scandal, had misinformed the market by facilitating "wash trades", in which the same person sells and buys securities, between Aug. 12, 2016 and Feb. 22, 2019. Such trades can create misleading prices for securities.

Danske said the preliminary charges were "for two potential violations of the Market Abuse Regulation on the basis of inadequate monitoring of transactions in financial instruments and market manipulation as a result of certain self-matching trades".

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The charges were brought by the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime.

Danske's chief compliance officer, Philippe Vollot, said: "The bank did not have adequate market monitoring in place, and we have therefore since 2019 made significant investments to strengthen our trade surveillance, our systems and controls and have also implemented strengthened pre-trade controls."

Vollot said the bank, which was ready to cooperate with the prosecutor, had "not seen any indication of intentional wrongdoing or any harm to customers or market participants."

The violations can be punished by fines.

Separately, Danske is being investigated by authorities in several countries after more than 200 billion euros ($239 billion) in suspicious transactions flowed through its Estonian branch from 2007 to 2015, in one of the world's biggest money-laundering cases.

($1 = 0.8375 euros)

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Edmund Blair

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