The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority has ordered Danske Bank, the Danish financial institution, to close its offices in-country. The bank has agreed to do so without protest and has decided to also close its entire Baltic and Russian operations, after massive money laundering was uncovered over the last decade. Approximately 200 billion euros of suspect funds were sent through the bank’s accounts from 2007 to 2015.
“We acknowledge that the serious case of possible money laundering in Estonia has had a negative impact on Estonian society, and we acknowledge that the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority, against this background, finds it best that Danske Bank discontinues its Estonian banking activities,” Jesper Nielsen, interim CEO of Danske Bank, said, reported The Baltic Times.
“We are sorry to be leaving Estonia against this background, but we understand the severity with which the Estonian FSA looks at this case, and we will close down our remaining activities as requested. We will continue our cooperation with the Estonian and other relevant authorities,” he said, adding that in recent years, Danske Bank has stepped up anti-money laundering initiatives considerably.
Independently of the notification from the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority and in line with its strategy of focusing on its Nordic core markets, Danske Bank has for some time considered the future of its remaining activities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the activities in Russia. Danske Bank has now decided to close down all of these activities, the bank said, wrote The Baltic Times.