Former Danske Bank chief in Estonia found dead


Estonian police found the body of Aivar Rehe in the yard of his home on Wednesday, two days after he had disappeared.

The body was found after a search operation was launched involving sniffer dogs, drones and volunteers, around Rehe’s home near the capital, Tallinn.

The disappearance of the former head of Danske Bank’s Estonian operations fueled speculation about links to a 2007 to 2015 money-laundering scandal that engulfed the bank.

However, police had said earlier that no third parties were suspected in the disappearance. Estonian media suggested that everything at the scene where the 56-year-old was found pointed to death by suicide.

In a sign of the wide reach of investigations into money laundering, German police raided offices in Frankfurt on Wednesday. Prosecutors said they were looking at specific allegations that suspicions of money laundering taking place were not reported early enough. Deutsche Bank said it was cooperating with the investigation.

Not viewed as a suspect

In Estonia, police last year detained 10 other former employees of the bank who were later charged with money laundering. However, Rehe was apparently not considered to be a suspect in the case.

In an interview with the Estonian newspaper Postimees in March, Rehe said he had believed the bank’s mechanisms to prevent money laundering were adequate at the time. Despite this, he said, he felt responsible. 

The scandal is one of the largest ever of its kind, involving illicit money from Russian and other former Soviet republics being filtered through Danske client accounts.

The scandal has resulted in major criminal investigations in Denmark, France and the United States, as well as Estonia.


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