Corporate social responsibility

Comment from DNB regarding the Samherji-case, updated November 28th

Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) today announced that they have opened investigation of DNB Bank ASA in relation to the Samherji-case.

We have had a good dialogue with Økokrim all the way and the fact that they are now opening an investigation means that we have the opportunity to share with them everything we know in the Samherji case, including confidential client information. We have been prevented from doing so thus far due to a duty of confidentiality.

In a case like this, as one of the banks of the company in question, we play an important role in contributing to establishing all the facts of the case.

We are committed to getting to the bottom of this, for own learning as well. Therefore, this does not change anything with regard to our ongoing efforts to investigate all aspects of this matter.

We cannot rule out that our own assessment of this case will identify potential improvements of our efforts in this area. At the same time, it is important to remember that the one accused of corruption or money laundering in this matter is not a Norwegian bank, but an Icelandic fisheries company.

DNB's comments on allegations related to Icelandic fisheries companies

DNB is looking into this matter to establish the facts. Based on what has emerged in the media, we cannot rule out that DNB's services have been misused by criminals in this matter. It is up to the police to determine whether this is the case.
If it is proved that a customer has misused DNB's systems for criminal purposes, this will of course have direct consequences for that customer. It is too early to say what such consequences would be. As the Icelandic media coverage has revealed, DNB terminated the customer relationship with two of the mentioned companies in 2018.

We understand that many would like to know whether DNB has reported any transactions to the police. It is, however, prohibited to disclose such reports, and it could also affect the police’s work. DNB's responsibility is to report suspicious transactions to The Norwegian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Of course, we cooperate with the police in this type of matters.

DNB is not the one accused of money laundering or corruption. However, we are required to have systems in place to detect suspicious activities, so that we can take a closer look and possibly report them to The Norwegian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).  In 2018, DNB submitted 1 496 cases to The Norwegian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), involving more than 3 700 customer relationships and thousands of transactions. Following cases like this, however, we need to assess whether our efforts in this area have been good enough. 

In this matter, we are talking about circumstances extending almost ten years back in time. There is no doubt that both DNB and other banks now have better systems and more expertise on fighting and preventing financial crime than we had ten years ago. The requirements for banks have also tightened during this period.

As authorities also have stated, the purpose of the law is not to eliminate the risk of being misused for money laundering purposes, but to reduce it. All banks experience attempts at misuse by criminals, DNB included. There have undoubtedly been transactions that have passed through our systems, which should have been looked into more closely. 

Key areas

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  • Promoting financial understanding in the community
  • 40 percent women in leading roles
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  • Human rights

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