Estonian Danske Bank Executive Found Dead

Aivar Rehe, the head of Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, was found dead on Wednesday after he went missing Monday evening from his home in Tallinn, the national ERR TV reported citing Estonia’s Police.

Danske Bank TallinnDanske Bank Tallinn (Photo: Pjotr Mahhonin (CC BY-SA 4.0))Rehe, 56, was seen last time on Monday leaving his home in a black jogging suit. Although the police searched a forest near his house, his body was reportedly found in his own backyard, with the evidence indicating a suicide.

Operations chief of the Northern Police Prefecture Valdo Põder said on Tuesday that Rehe’s “actions, domestic situation, and the information gathered from his family” all pointed to the possibility of suicide.

Rehe served as CEO of Danske Bank's Estonian branch from 2008-2015.

In November 2017, criminal proceedings were initiated against the Estonian branch of the bank over suspicious transactions of more than 200 billion euro (US$220 billion). To date, ten former Danske employees have been suspected of large-scale money laundering and one person has been suspected of taking a bribe.

Danske Bank, including its branches in the US, Great Britain, Estonia and Denmark, has been under investigation, and Estonia’s regulator earlier this year ordered the bank to leave the country.

Since exploding last year, according to Bloomberg, “Danske’s dirty-money saga has tainted a number of other banks,” with the developments that have “painted a picture of widespread misconduct in which suspicious funds from Russia were channeled via Nordic banks into the West over a period of several years.”

In 2013, Danske Bank in Estonia closed the accounts of several companies after realizing they had been used by a member of Vladimir Putin’s family and Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, to launder huge amounts of money, according to a leaked report.

The bank also hosted accounts that let billions of dollars from Azerbaijan and offshores flow freely through its Estonian branch between 2012 and 2014, with much of the money going to other offshore companies, high-ranking officials, and European politicians who praised the regime, a chronic human rights abuser.

Although he was not involved in the scam, Aivar Rehe said in an interview in March this year that he “feels responsible for” the scandal that befell the Estonian Danske Bank’s branch.