© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen

By Teis Jensen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Former and current members of Danske Bank’s executive board have waived bonuses for 2018 because of the money laundering scandal linked to the bank’s Estonian branch.

Danske Bank is under investigation in the United States, Denmark, Estonia, France and Britain over 200 billion euros ($226 billion) in payments that were found to have flowed through its Estonian branch from Russia, former Soviet states and elsewhere between 2007 and 2015.

Since the scandal surfaced last year the bank has replaced its CEO and the chairman, pulled out of Russia and the Baltics, boosted its compliance efforts and promised to donate 1.5 billion Danish crowns ($230 million) to fighting financial fraud.

“The executive board has decided to waive the bonuses that could have been paid for 2018,” new Chairman Karsten Dybvad told shareholders at the bank’s annual general meeting in Copenhagen on Monday.

The chairman said he supported the decision but did not disclose the size of the bonuses being waived.

Dybvad replaced former chairman Ole Andersen at an extraordinary general meeting in December called by the Maersk family, the largest shareholder in the bank and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Dybvad, who for the past eight years was CEO of the influential Confederation of Danish Industry, said 2018 had been a low point for the bank but also a turning point, adding that last year also marked the start of internal dialogue about the bank’s role in society.

Danske Bank’s share price, which halved last year, has stabilized this year, with no major new revelations about the bank having emerged as other lenders have been entangled in the scandal, including Deutsche Bank (DE:) and Swedbank.

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2019-03-18