Norway’s largest bank DNB has announced it is no longer being investigated by the country’s financial crime watchdog over alleged links to bribery and money laundering.
DNB said it has been informed that the investigation, by the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim), has “not generated any information that gives grounds for criminal prosecution of individuals”.
In November 2019, Økokrim announced it was investigating the relationship between DNB, Icelandic fisheries company Samherji hf and alleged corruption in Namibia.
This followed media reporting of a WikLeaks publication of 30,000 documents – dubbed the Fishrot Files- suggesting that Samherji had paid bribes to Namibian officials for fishing quotas.
Icelandic media then said that Samherji used DNB to funnel over $70 million to a shell company in the Marshall Islands, made up partially of proceeds from its Namibian activities.
Thomas Midteide, Group Executive Vice President of Communications & Sustainability at DNB, said: ”We have had constructive cooperation with Økokrim all along, and we have shared all relevant information in our possession. We take note of the announcement that DNB will not be subject to criminal prosecution.”
A spokesperson for Samherji said the company was pleased the case had been dropped and criticised reporting by Icelandic broadcaster RUV.
“The company has always stated that the allegations regarding the transactions of Samherji affiliates with DNB were unfounded.
“A significant part of a coverage of the fishing industry in Namibia by RUV in Iceland in November 2019 concerned the transactions in question with DNB Bank. “During RUV’s broadcast, information on the bank’s due diligence (know your client documents) was taken out of context and loan transactions, which were carried out to ensure that crewmembers received their salary on time, were made suspicious. Severe allegations were made about these transactions, including that they involved possible money laundering.”