The Russian-speaking caller refused to give a name but the threat was explicit: “Do you really feel you can walk home safely at night?”
It was 2013 and officers at the Estonian branch of Danske Bank were beginning to realise they had taken on some very unpleasant customers. After a tipoff, a member of staff had travelled to Moscow and started asking questions. The team was trying to trace the identity of people hiding behind anonymous corporate vehicles, which had opened accounts and were now using them to transfer huge sums of money. That was when its staff began to receive anonymous threats. “This bank will sink,” one caller warned.
Today, Danske is still very much in business, but its chief executive, Thomas Borgen, has resigned. He fell on his sword after a report produced by lawyers for his board, published on Wednesday, revealed the full extent of problems at the Estonian branch. It had thousands of suspicious customers, responsible for €200bn (£180bn) of transactions over a nine-year period. The realisation is dawning that what has been uncovered is probably the largest ever money-laundering scandal in history. (Read more….)