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Estonian Bank Chief Tied to Danske Bank Scandal Found Dead

The former head of Denmark’s Danske Bank Estonian branch linked to a $230 million money laundering scandal that has ensnared Dutch bank ABN Amro and Germany’s Deutsche Bank was found dead in an apparent suicide, The New York Times reported.
Aivar Rehe had been missing two days when he was found Sept. 25 in a yard behind his house. A search had gone far and wide after police said they feared for his life. The paper said he was not a suspect in the ongoing probe of the dirty money scandal but that it happened while he was the chief executive.
“This place had been checked earlier by his family. The body has no signs of violence, neither does anything point to an accident.” The police said no more details would be provided, out of courtesy to the family but didn’t explain why if the area was checked his body wasn’t found sooner.
Most of the money came from Russia and several former Republics including Estonia, and the transactions happened from 2007-15. A period during which there were “major deficiencies in controls and governance that made it possible to use Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia for criminal activities such as money laundering,” the bank said in 2017. The investigation led Danske Bank to suspend its operations in Estonia in February.
The Estonian prosecutor’s office said earlier it was investigating whether Sweden’s Swedbank was also involved in suspicious deals with Danske Bank, further staining the reputation of Scandinavian financial institutions in countries that consistently rank among the least corrupt in the world.
The day after his body was found, German authorities again raided Deutsche Bank’s Frankfurt headquarters although on a smaller scale than previously when boxes of documents were taken out. Just recently, the bank was part of a federal investigation of whether there were failures to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
Rehe, 56, stepped down in 2015 before the full scope of the scandal became evident. He had been head of his country’s Tax and Customs board before working for another Estonian lender, BigBank before taking over the Danske Bank branch.
ABN Amro said it was the subject of a money-laundering investigation by the Dutch public prosecutor’s office, sending its shares tumbling 10 percent, similar to Deutsche Bank’s plunge and the financial fall of Danske Bank.

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