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Danske threat to Danish AAA rating triggers political action

As Denmark comes to grips with its role in one of Europe’s worst dirty money sagas, its parliament is working overtime to stop the nation’s credit rating from being dragged down by the scandal.

Danske Bank A/S has admitted that about $234 billion flowed through a tiny unit in Estonia between 2007 and 2015, and is treating a “large” share of that amount as “suspicious” transactions. Chief Executive Officer Thomas Borgen has resigned and several employees have been reported to the police. Criminal investigations are ongoing and the government says Danske may face a $630 million fine.

S&P Global Ratings says the sheer scale of the scandal has put the Danish government’s AAA credit grade at risk. S&P first made the comment in a Sept. 14 note, and said the view still holds, when contacted by phone on Sept. 20. It’s a warning that has Danish politicians worried, and on Wednesday parliament quickly agreed on a package of much stricter laws to fight money laundering.

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