IMF LFS, NJORD Law Firm and Quinn Emanuel propose to launch shareholder action against Danske Bank over one of the world's largest money-laundering scandals
LONDON, 22 January 2019: IMF Litigation Funding Services Limited (IMF LFS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF) (IMF), one of the world's largest and most respected litigation funders, announced today a proposed shareholder action for shareholders of Danske Bank A/S (CPSE:DANSKE) (Danske Bank), to be led by specialist Danish law firm NJORD Law Firm and leading global litigation law firm Quinn Emanuel.
The action will seek compensation for shareholders who lost millions of euros in value as a result of perceived errors and omissions committed by Danske Bank's management and Danske Bank's failure to disclose to the market the circumstances and magnitude of alleged unlawful activities within its Estonian branch.
Danske Bank is the largest financial institution in Denmark and has a presence in sixteen countries.
In 2007 Danske Bank acquired an Estonian branch as part of its acquisition of Finnish-based Sampo Bank. The Estonian branch held a non-resident portfolio comprising customers from the Russian Federation and the larger Commonwealth of Independent States, including countries such as Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
In 2007 Danske Bank's management were advised by the Russian Central Bank, via the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, of concerns regarding the non-resident customers of the Estonian branch, including possible tax and custom payments evasion and criminal activity including money laundering.
Despite many warnings, including a report from a whistle-blower employed in the Estonian branch in early 2014, and audit letters from Group Internal Audit, Danske Bank's anti-money laundering procedures at the Estonian branch failed to respond and were manifestly inadequate.
It was not until 19 September 2018 that Danske Bank provided sufficient information to inform the market of the true scale of the problems within Danske Bank.
Over the course of 2018, Danske Bank's shareholders experienced a substantial fall in their share value, Shares trading on 2 January 2018 at the equivalent of €25.62 fell to the equivalent of €18.70, following the disclosure on 19 September 2018, (a fall of €6.92 or 27%).
IMF LFS' Investment Manager Alistair Croft said: “EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has referred to the money laundering uncovered within the Bank as ‘the biggest scandal we have now in Europe.' The failure to disclose approximately €200bn of suspicious money flowing through its Estonia branch has caused serious harm to Danske's financial position and its reputation. Reports make clear that Danske Bank continued to downplay the problems publicly and gave the impression they were largely historical matters that were substantially resolved. Although Danske Bank engaged in dialogue over many years with regulators in Estonia and Denmark, management disclosed no inkling of any serious issues to their shareholders.”
Christian Benedictsen-Nislev, lead partner at NJORD Law Firm, stated: “In our assessment, Danske Bank failed to provide adequate and timely information to the market of the nature and extent of the problems in the Bank, resulting in inflated share prices. NJORD Law Firm is committed to assist shareholders in seeking compensation for losses suffered as a result hereof."
What should Danske Bank shareholders do?
The shareholder action is open to investors who suffered loss after acquiring shares in Danske Bank between 29 April 2014 and 19 September 2018 (inclusive).
NJORD Law Firm, Quinn Emanuel and IMF encourage all shareholders who acquired shares in Danske Bank during this period to register their interest as soon as possible via IMF's confidential, dedicated website page (https://www.imf.com.au/danske) or by contacting IMF LFS in London or the lawyers directly.
IMF LFS, together with both law firms, will host a group telephone conference call on 31 January 2019 to explain to shareholders how the claim will be run. To register for this call, please email [email protected] and access details will be posted on IMF's webpage (https://www.imf.com.au/danske) nearer the time.
About NJORD Law
NJORD Law Firm is a full-service law firm serving local and international clients through the firm's offices across the Nordic countries, including Denmark and Estonia.
NJORD Law Firm's litigation department is one of the largest and most experienced among the Top 10 Danish law firms. The firm's many expert litigators include lawyers specializing in capital markets and securities litigation, and the litigation department has substantial experience with complex, multi-party litigation.
For further information about NJORD Law Firm, please visit www.njordlaw.com
About Quinn Emanuel
One of Quinn Emanuel's largest practice areas is securities litigation. For decades, the firm has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in many of the highest-profile securities cases in the United States. More recently, their global presence has allowed them to advise and represent clients in a broad range of complex securities disputes in major financial markets overseas, including Australia, the U.K., Europe, and Asia. Many of their representations have involved dozens of related shareholder-derivative and class action claims. Over the past eight years, they have achieved verdicts and settlements totalling over $47 billion for their clients in the wave of litigation that arose in the aftermath of the U.S. financial crisis.
For further information about Quinn Emanuel, please visit www.quinnemanuel.com