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BANKING

Financial crime: Can Europe’s banks wash themselves clean?

European banks are trying to put a devastating series of money-laundering scandals behind them, but the crisis is far from over. The extra costs it implies are hitting them at the worst possible time, while the damage to their reputations will be even harder to repair.

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A window cleaner at Canary Wharf



HSBC’s shaming over Mexican drug money earlier this decade is beginning to look like a mere preface to the crisis that banks across Europe are now facing from financial crime.

Images of German police raiding Deutsche Bank’s headquarters late last year as part of an investigation related to the Panama Papers press leak on offshore tax havens reinforced a sense that this is another reason to steer well clear of European banks.

Though apparently unrelated, the raid happened just weeks after Danske Bank’s former chief executive Thomas Borgen resigned over a €200 billion money-laundering breach in its Estonian branch, for which Deutsche had acted as the main correspondent bank.