2019.11.27 09:00

Danske Bank ordered to close branch in Estonia, will keep service centre in Lithuania

LRT.lt2019.11.27 09:00

Estonia has ordered Danske Bank to close its branch in Tallinn by the end of the year. The bank, which was embroiled in a 200-billion-euro money-laundering scandal, is to close its operations in the Baltic states and Russia, though it plans to keep a service centre in Lithuania open.

Danske's interim chief executive Jesper Nielsen has confirmed that the Denmark-based bank will comply with Estonia's request, reports.

The Danske Bank money-laundering scandal arose in 2017 around suspicious transactions through its Estonian branch. The transactions, covering the period from 2007 to 2015, totaled 200 billion euros and have been described as possibly the largest ever money laundering scandal in Europe.

“We acknowledge that the serious case of possible money-laundering in Estonia has had a negative impact on Estonian society and find it best that Danske Bank discontinues its Estonian banking activities,” Nielsen said in a statement.

It has eight months to close down the branch and return its clients' deposits.

The Lithuanian branch of Danske Bank discontinued banking services in 2018, closing down the accounts of about 6,400 private and 5,100 business clients.

However, Danske's service centre in Lithuania will remain open, Nielsen said.

The centre employs nearly 3,000 people and is one of the biggest employers in the country.

The Danske Bank money-laundering scandal has led the European Banking Authority to open an investigation into possible breaches of EU law by the financial authorities of Estonia and Denmark.

Read more: Danske Bank in Estonia used gold to hide illicit Russian funds

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