Country’s biggest bank hit with huge fine

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State financial regulators slapped Norway’s biggest bank, DnB NOR, with a huge fine on Tuesday and ordered it to refund earnings that they claim were based on insider trading.

The bank has agreed to pay the total demand for NOK 26 million (about USD 4.3 million) but insists it hasn’t broken the law.

The case stems from a sudden and high degree of activity in the fall of 2008, when the global finance crisis first hit and DnB NOR sold state securities to other banks in October. The sales came just before the state stepped forward with its crisis package to boost bank liquidity, and state investigators claim DnB sold the securities at a profit, knowing the state would later come with its crisis funding.

Prosecutor Thomas Skjelbred told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that its large fine of NOK 12 million “reflects the seriousness” of the violation. DnB was also ordered to pay back NOK 14 million the state claims it earned on the disputed securities sales.

DnB denies acting on insider information, with a spokesman saying “we have not broken any law” and “we disagree” with the prosecutor’s findings. But DnB NOR feels it’s more important to dispense with the case and move on. In return, charges against two DnB employees will be dropped.

By Views and News staff