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Danish shadow banks at the center of major fraud cases, reports DR

February 1, 2016

German and Italian police are investigating two major cases of VAT fraud and money laundering, allegedly made via Danish shadow banks, reports Bo Elkjær, Troels Kingo Larsen and Mads Nilsson from DR (Denmark’s Radio).
A network of Danish business men assisted international VAT fraudsters in hiding from the authorities.
This is going to be revealed on February 1, 2016 in a tv-programme produced by DR1 (Denmark’s Radio 1).The programme “How Denmark is being swindled” is a collaboration between DR 1 and DR’s Investigative Database Editors.
Several of the Danish business men have been arrested and extradited to Germany. One of those persons is already convicted of money laundering. According to German police the fraud has a value of more than one billion DKK.
Among other things the fraudsters used shadow bank Swefin, that Danish business men operated as a registered company in Sweden.
Swefin served as an online payment platform where fraudsters were able to transfer and launder money.
A shadow bank may be described as a business, where you is able to carry out transactions, keeping money, depositing money, later drawing it out again, in fact as part of a money laundering system, says police commissioner Jens Kauffeld Andreasen from Danish Serious Fraud Office (SØIK).

CRIME AS A SERVICE

The Danish businessmen operating Swefin were not directly involved in the fraud, but earned money on delivering the platform where the fraud took place, says Chris Perryman. He is Europol’s leading specialist in VAT fraud:
– They required considerable amounts from the VAT fraudsters in order to set up these accounts. It cost $ 60,000 to register an account, that we know of. Afterwards they drew money from each transaction, said Chris Perryman.
A similar case is being investigated in Italy. In this case operations via Swefin is also involved. In the Italian case the authorities estimate that fraud worth more than 1 billion DKK took place.

SWEFIN BANK WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A
SERVER STORED IN AN EMPTY APARTMENT

Although Swefin was registered as a company, the bank consisted in reality of nothing more than a computer server, that was stored in an empty apartment in a residential area in Malmö in southern Sweden.
The server acted as a payment platform where fraudsters could log on and trade among themselves without the interference of the authorities.
Swefin was one of a row of completely identical shadow banks.
– Swefin was one of the first payment platforms, we became aware of, says Chris Perryman of Europol.
– A report by the Nordic tax authorities revealed, that during the two years 2010-2012 eight such units were created. The authorities have traced 1,14 billion Euro, that were passed through the eight units with a total of lost taxes worth 180 million Euro, says Chris Perryman.
The eight shadow banks had addresses in student hostels and in rundown apartments in Malmo, elsewhere in Sweden, Norway and Denmark – however all of them connected with banks in Denmark.
http://www.dr.dk/nyheder/penge/danske-skyggebanker-centrum-i-store-svindelsager

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