Business News in Brief: Danske Bank’s woes continue as shareholders sue

In other stories, the Parken national stadium is not for sale, government cracks down on company car fraud and Amazon expected to expand into Denmark in 2019

A New York pension fund, which is a shareholder in Danske Bank, has launched a group action lawsuit at the bank and four of its former executives, alleging that the bank committed fraud by not stopping the money-laundering at its Estonian branch, where 1.5 trillion kroner passed through between 2007 and 2015, as it artificially inflated the price of its shares.

Compensation is being sought for losses sustained between January 2014 and October 2018. As this is a group action, more disgruntled shareholders may come on board. One of the executives in the fund’s cross-hairs is the former chief executive Thomas Borgen.

Parken not for sale after all
Erik Skjærbæk and Karl Peter Korsgaard Sørensen, who between them own 40 percent of Parken Sport & Entertainment, have confirmed they have no intention to sell their stake. Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond, which owns 29 percent, has already indicated that they would accept an offer from Redstone Advisory Partners, which on Wednesday led to a 25 percent jump in the company’s share price. PS&E own FC Copenhagen and the Parken national stadium, along with some other assets in the entertainment and leisure sector. Redstone has set up a company called Arena Developments to front the bid, and experts believe pressure will grow on Skjærbæk and Sørensen to accept the offer now it is out in the open.

Company car tax fiddles under scrutiny
The tax minister, Karsten Lauritzen, has indicated to Jyllands-Posten that there is too much tax-avoidance in the area of company cars. It would appear that some companies are bypassing hefty charges by selling the cars to leasing companies, which means that car drivers often avoid a third of the due tax – in the case of a brand new Audi A8 around 75,000 kroner a year. Lauritzen remarked that it is “not in spirit with our rules for company and leased cars”.

Amazon on the way to Denmark
Niels Ralund, the chief executive of Foreningen for Dansk Internethandel, believes Amazon might enter the Danish market this year. “We know it is inevitable – perhaps during 2019,” he told DR. With no devoted Danish site, Amazon’s share of the Danish online trading market is relatively small, although many Danes do use the German site. In Germany, Amazon’s share is 40 percent.

Toy shops remain open despite bancruptcy
Contrary to reports in late December, five Fætter BR and 21 Toys”R”Us stores will remain open, offering products at heavy discounts, even though their parent company Top-Toy has gone bankrupt. Among the Copenhagen stores remaining open are ones in Fields, Fisketorvet, Lyngby Storcenter and Frederiksberg Center.

Cavling prize for money-laundering story
Three Berlingske journalists – Eva Jung, Michael Lund and Simon Bendtsen – have won the prestigious Cavling Prize for their investigation into the Danske Bank money-laundering scandal.