Former branch head at bank involved in Russian money laundering scandal goes missing in Estonia

Former branch head at bank involved in Russian money laundering scandal goes missing in Estonia
Aivar Rehe

Aivar Rehe left the house without his phone and disappeared in the area where he usually walks his dog.

In Estonia, the former head of a local branch of Danske Bank, which was involved in a Russian money-laundering scandal, has disappeared, as reported by Kommersant with reference to newspaper Postimees. Police, volunteers, dogs, and drones have been searching for Aivar Rehe, 56.

It is reported that Rehe disappeared in the area where he usually walks his dog. The former top manager left home without the pet or his phone.

The criminal case on large-scale money laundering in the Estonian branch of Danske Bank was launched in November 2017. According to the investigators, 200 billion euros of suspicious origin passed through it between 2007 and 2015. In the summer of 2018, Hermitage Capital founder Bill Browder, accused of fraud in Russia, filed a complaint against 26 employees of the branch. Charges were brought against ten of them, but Reha was not among the suspects.

After the scandal, Danske Bank closed its Estonian branch and decided to cease operation in the Baltic States and Russia.

In February 2018, The Guardian and Berlingske reported that family members of Russian President Vladimir Putin, namely, his cousin Igor Putin, as well as Russian FSB officers, could have been involved in Danske Bank’s money laundering schemes.

The extent of the fraud was not elaborated on. The estimated amount ranged from 2.2 billion to 3.3 billion dollars. According to The Guardian, up to $10 million was laundered per day. Back then, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin did not know anything about that.

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