Denmark Cracks Down on Money Laundering as Bankers Face PrisonBy
Minister in charge says plan is response to Panama Papers
Danske and Nordea have both been reprimanded by the regulator
Denmark is tightening its anti-money laundering laws in response to revelations in the so-called Panama Papers, with the government targeting tougher prison sentences for individual bank managers and consultants involved in breaches.
“We will not accept this in Denmark,” Business Minister Brian Mikkelsen told broadcaster TV2, after reaching an agreement with representatives from the governing coalition and the opposition.
Denmark’s Justice Department will now start work on the details of the plan, with the intention being that finance industry employees involved in money laundering “won’t just risk losing their jobs, they’ll face relatively long prison sentences,” Mikkelsen said.
The accord targets raising the time someone convicted of money laundering crimes can spend in jail to eight years from six, according to a statement by the business ministry. It also seeks to raise the fines that can be set and gives the financial regulator greater scope to cancel banking licenses for repeat offenders.
The plan places a greater burden on bank managers to stop money laundering, with board members overseeing companies caught breaching the law also facing punishment if they fail to intervene.
The three-party coalition struck an accord with the opposition Social Democrats, the Social Liberals, the Socialist People’s Party and the Danish People’s Party.
The biggest banks operating in Denmark have both been singled out for money laundering breaches. The financial regulator last year told Danske Bank A/S and the Danish unit of Nordea Bank AB to do better in tightening their operations to prevent everything from money laundering to giving bad advice to clients.
The reprimands followed revelations that banks around the world may have helped clients evade taxes. Nordea was among the lenders named.