Denmark enjoys a reputation for low corruption and transparency that is the envy of the world. But the country’s largest bank was a key enabler in the Azerbaijani Laundromat, a general-purpose money laundering scheme and slush fund used by the ruling elite in Baku.
Danske Bank hosted accounts that let billions of dollars from Azerbaijan and offshores flow freely through its Estonian branch between 2012 and 2014, with much of the money going to other offshore companies, high-ranking officials, and European politicians who praised the regime, a chronic human rights abuser.
Experts say Danske Bank violated national and international anti-money laundering (AML) regulations by closing its eyes to the €2.5 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) that passed through four accounts.
“Danske Bank [broke] almost all AML rules possible in this case,” Danish money-laundering expert Jakob Dedenroth Bernhoft told the Danish newspaper Berlingske, an OCCRP partner.