Martin Helme, Minister of Finance of Estonia, has signed an agreement with the US law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan for legal advice and representation in the United States in connection with international investigations into past AML breaches.
The law firm will be a partner for the Estonian government in the investigations into past AML cases initiated in the United States.
Mr Martin Helme, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Estonia, said:
"The reputation of Estonia has been significantly harmed in several past cases of breaches of AML rules. The activities of subsidiaries or branches of banks in Estonia are being investigated in several jurisdictions, including the United States. It is very important for Estonia that these difficult cases receive a thorough examination and that we learn as much as possible about what really happened in the past. Therefore, the government of Estonia wishes to play an active part in this process. This will entail cooperation with the law enforcement authorities of the United States. Estonia needs to be compensated for the harm it has suffered. In case of financial penalties against the offending parties, we are interested in forfeiture sharing, as Estonia is clearly a victim of these offences. I am glad that we have a strong and experienced partner in the United States to represent our interests.”
Mr Louis J. Freeh, Senior Managing Partner of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, said:
“I will first of all provide legal advice and representation to the government of Estonia in connection with the now well-known and suspected money-laundering activities by various Nordic banks, acting through their Estonian and other Baltic branch networks, whereby billions of US dollars were transferred and routed, in violation of local or international law and Estonian regulatory authority. The ultimate goal here is critical and simple, to ensure the financial institutions are held accountable for their actions, thereby enabling Estonia to be fully compensated for the immense financial damages and reputational harm which it has suffered. One of the goals of our work is to align Estonia closely with the various US law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and to provide investigative assistance in furtherance of their actions. By performing this role, Estonia will seek to share in any monetary proceeds which the US authorities obtain from the offending financial institutions as a result of settlements, fines, forfeitures or disgorgement.”
Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan has profound experience in cases involving international, crime, corruption and fraud. The team advising Estonia is led by Mr Louis J. Freeh, who served as the United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1993 and as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations from 1993 to 2001.
The team advising Estonia includes the Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan partner Mr Ronald Noble, who has served for two terms as the Interpol Secretary General and as the Undersecretary of the US Treasury for Law Enforcement as well as Mr Walter Donaldson, formerly the chief fraud investigator for the Bank of America, Mr Terry Burke, former senior officer of the UK Met Financial Crimes Unit and Chief of Security for the Bank of England, and Mr Michael Welch, a former FBI Assistant Director and Chief Investigator for the UK Financial Conduct Authority.