Sky-High Fines for Norwegian Bank that Serviced Samherji Skip to content
Boat with Samherji Logo
Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Sky-High Fines for Norwegian Bank that Serviced Samherji

Norwegian bank DNB has been reprimanded by Norway’s Financial Supervisory Authority, which criticised it for failing to regulate the transactions of six companies related to Icelandic seafood magnate Samherji. The bank was fined NOK 400 million ($48.2 million/€40 million) this morning for insufficient surveillance of money laundering. Kjarninn reports that the bank will not appeal the fine.

One of Iceland’s largest seafood companies, Samherji was the centre of an international scandal in late 2019 when an investigation alleged the company’s officials had bribed the Namibian government to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds. Leaked documents suggested the company had also taken advantage of international loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

DNB Terminated Services for Samherji Following Investigation

Most of Samherji’s financial transactions were mediated by DNB, Norway’s largest bank and one-third owned by the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. After the Samherji investigation became public, DNB asked the fishing company for documents to clarify their business with the bank and counter allegations of money laundering and tax evasion. The documents provided by Samherji were deemed insufficient to “clear up the issues brought up by the bank,” and DNB subsequently terminated deposit and payment services for several Samherji accounts at the bank.

In December 2020, the bank announced it was facing a fine equivalent to ISK 5.7 billion for poor money laundering protection. DNB was also investigated by the Norwegian Economic Crimes Police after the Samherji documents were made public.

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