Moody's downgrades Danske bank ratings over money-laundering probe

General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark September 27, 2018. — Reuters pic
General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark September 27, 2018. — Reuters pic

COPENHAGEN, Oct 13 ― US ratings agency Moody's yesterday downgraded its long-term ratings for Denmark's biggest bank, Danske Bank, which is at the centre of a scandal over alleged money-laundering.

The decision “follows the announcement that the bank is the subject of criminal investigations by the US Department of Justice linked to money laundering through its Estonian branch between 2007-2015,” Moody's said in a statement.

Investors and clients have already headed for the exits amid growing fears of a possibly huge US fine for laundering funds for 15,000 mainly Russian clients.

Danske Bank has itself identified the equivalent of €200 billion (RM961 billion) in “suspicious” transactions from 2007-2015 on behalf of 15,000 clients, including top Russian politicians and companies based in Denmark.

According to a Financial Times report, Danske earned €10 million in 2013 through mirror trades that used Russian bonds, which the Danish lender acknowledged raised a “potential reputational risk in being seen to be assisting capital flight from Russia”.

The ratings agency downgraded its long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings from A1 to A2. Both ratings are within Moody's “upper-medium grade”.

The money-laundering investigation “has increased the probability that Danske will receive substantial financial fines,” Moody's said, adding that the probe will also “consume a significant amount of resources and managerial focus”.

Denmark, like its Nordic neighbours, is considered a model of transparent governance, and the total amount of the suspicious transactions is 10 times Estonia's national output in 2014. ― AFP

Related Articles