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Moody's downgrades Danske Bank over US probe on money laundering scandal

Moody's on Oct. 12 lowered Danske Bank A/S' long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings to A2 from A1, with a negative outlook.

At the same time, the rating agency downgraded the bank's junior senior unsecured debt ratings to Baa2 from Baa1 and baseline credit assessment to "baa1" from "a3."

The downgrade comes on the heels of a U.S. Justice Department probe into an alleged €200 billion money laundering scandal at the bank's Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch already lowered their outlooks on the bank.

Moody's said the investigations increase the chances of Danske getting substantial fines, which will consume a significant amount of resources and managerial focus.

The "baa1" baseline credit assessment is a reflection of Danske's strengthened asset quality, capitalization and profitability after the financial crisis, but the negative outlook reflects the uncertainty over the alleged scandal.