A crusading Russian official traveled to Estonia in the summer of 2006 to warn the authorities that an unprecedented money-laundering scheme had been established in the tiny Baltic financial sector. The scam he had uncovered would go on to become the biggest dirty-money operation in history: the $200 billion Danske Bank scandal.
Three months after Andrei Kozlov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, tried to raise the alarm, he was dead.
Crooked beneficiaries of the illicit multibillion-dollar scheme to transfer money out of Russia included a member of Vladmir Putin’s family and agents from the KGB’s successor, the FSB, according to a leaked report drawn up by a bank insider.
According to a diplomatic cable seen by The Daily Beast, U.S. officials briefly investigated Kozlov’s trip to try to shut down the money-laundering superhighway through Tallinn soon after his death, but the scale and importance of the dirty-money route was unknown at the time.
Kozlov becomes the third dead Russian who can be linked to the Danske scandal after Alexander Perepilichnyy, whose company used the bank’s Estonia branch, died in suspicious circumstances in Britain, and Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was investigating the theft of $230 million when he died in Russian custody. It is claimed that the vast majority of the proceeds of that theft were laundered through Danske Bank. [Continue reading…]