Money laundering

Criminal enforcement

Which government entities enforce your jurisdiction’s money laundering laws?

Danish legislation only includes national crimes, and law enforcement is national. As a rule, the various national supervisory agencies cannot enforce Consolidated Act No. 380 of 2 April 2020 on preventive measures against money laundering and the financing of terrorism (the Act on Money Laundering) as it is a matter for the Danish police to carry out its enforcement. However, the latest amendments to the Act on Money Laundering gives the Financial Supervisory Authority the possibility to impose fines on financial companies for not being compliant with the requirements of the Act on Money Laundering.

Any prosecution for money laundering must be carried out by the national police force. The State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime is primarily responsible for any cases of prosecution for money laundering.


Can both natural and legal persons be prosecuted for money laundering?

Yes, the Act on Money Laundering applies to both natural and legal persons.

The offence of money laundering

What constitutes money laundering?

Money laundering is defined in the Act on Money Laundering as:

  • unlawfully receiving or obtaining for him or herself or others a share in profits or proceeds obtained through a criminal offence;
  • unlawfully concealing, storing, transporting or assisting in the disposal of or otherwise subsequently serving to ensure the economic profits or proceeds obtained through criminal offence; and
  • attempting or participating in such actions.


In addition, financial institutions and other companies can be held liable for not having sufficient preventive measures in accordance with the requirements of the Act of Money Laundering; however, this would not be considered as money laundering but as a breach of the obligations that rest with companies covered by the Act.

Qualifying assets and transactions

Is there any limitation on the types of assets or transactions that can form the basis of a money laundering offence?

No, the Act on Money Laundering does not provide any limitations on the types of assets or transactions that can form the basis of a money laundering offence.

Predicate offences

Generally, what constitute predicate offences?

A predicate offence is a crime that is linked to the process of money laundering, for example, VAT fraud or organised drug crime. Generally speaking, a predicate offence can be any violation of the Criminal Code as well as any special legislation. Both actions carried out in Denmark as well as abroad can constitute a predicate offence.


Are there any codified or common law defences to charges of money laundering?

No, Danish laws do not provide any defences to charges of money laundering.

Resolutions and sanctions

What is the range of outcomes in criminal money laundering cases?

The penalties for violations of the Act on Money Laundering vary from fines to imprisonment. The size of the fines for individuals is based on an assessment of their financial situation, whereas for companies the assessment is based on their net sales at the time of the offense.

Imprisonment may be up to two years; however, the management and board members of a systemically important financial institution may, in certain cases, become subject to sanctions under the Criminal Code for violating the Act on Money Laundering. In those cases, the sanction may be up to three years’ imprisonment.

In Denmark, plea agreements are not a possibility.


Describe any related asset freezing, forfeiture, disgorgement and victim compensation laws.

There is no specific Danish legislation on these issues related to money laundering.

Limitation periods on money laundering prosecutions

What are the limitation periods governing money laundering prosecutions?

The limitation period for bringing actions under the Act on Money Laundering is in most cases five years; however, for violations of the provisions regarding false money, risk assessment, know your customer procedures and the duty of notification, the limitation period is extended to 10 years.

Extraterritorial reach of money laundering law

Do your jurisdiction’s money laundering laws have extraterritorial reach?

To some extent, the legislation has an extraterritorial effect; for instance, the Act on Money Laundering applies directly to branches of foreign companies and agents for foreign companies, which must comply with certain rules laid down in the Act.

Further, foreign groups of companies with establishments in Denmark must have policies and procedures in place in accordance with the Act on Money Laundering.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the above information is accurate

30 April 2020.