Extra 64 institutional investors file lawsuits against Danske Bank

An additional 64 institutional investors have filed lawsuits against Danske Bank A/S asserting fraud claims against the bank tied to the bank’s money laundering scandal.

This second wave adds to the first wave of 168 international investors who filed claims against the bank in March 2019 accusing Denmark’s largest bank and its senior leadership of participating in a massive Russian money-laundering scheme and cover-up at the bank’s Estonia branch. The plaintiffs assert nearly US$800m in economic losses.

The claims were filed in Copenhagen City Court by law firms Grant & Eisenhofer and DRRT, and local counsel KLAR Advokater between 16-18 October.

The new wave of claimants – including several from Scandinavian countries – brings the total number of institutional investor plaintiffs in the Danske litigation to 232. Claimants represent 22 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and include some of the largest public pension funds in the world.

Commenting on the case Grant & Eisenhower director Olav Haazen, who represents the group, said: “Since this past March, when we first filed these cases, we have received numerous inquiries and significant interest from investors who suffered financial losses resulting from the Danske scandal. Add to the $800m in claims already asserted, we expect to bring yet a third wave of related cases in the next few months.”

The investor suit follows a multi-month probe which found that Danske Bank’s senior management had knowledge of illicit money laundering at its Estonian branch. Danske Bank had been informed by an internal whistleblower that suspicious Russian sources were behind one of the companies laundering money through the Estonia branch.

In September 2018, an independent investigation ordered by the bank’s board of directors revealed that more than $230bn in suspicious transactions passed through the Estonia branch from Russian sources. The report found that Danske’s senior leadership had known of the problem as far back as 2013, but failed to make appropriate disclosures even after the laundering was confirmed in 2014.

Investors accuse Danske Bank of engaging in a concerted cover-up to keep the findings as well as the magnitude of the laundering from investors and financial regulators in Estonia and Denmark.

“The breadth of the fallout from this case is astonishing, and doesn’t merely encompass Danske’s uppermost leadership,” Haazen stated. “The sheer number of institutional investors affected is remarkable — currently 232, but this figure may increase to include dozens more that will likely push our clients’ damage claims total to top $1bn. With such a vast swath of financial victims presenting claims in this case, the court is considering selecting a test case, similar to lead plaintiff or model plaintiff, to help facilitate in adjudication.”

The actions seek damages on behalf of institutional investors who purchased and/or acquired Danske Bank A/S securities during the relevant period of Dec. 31, 2012 through the present.

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