Danske Bank begins scaling back scandal-hit Estonian branch

Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) said on Friday it has begun closing down parts of its Estonian business, which has been at the centre of an investigation into alleged money laundering.
FILE PHOTO: General view of the Danske Bank building in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/File Photo
The scandal involves 200 billion euros ($230 billion) in transactions processed by Denmark’s biggest bank via its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, many of which the bank said last month it thinks are suspicious.
The bank said in April it would scale down its business in the Baltic countries to focus on the Nordic markets.
It said it would serve only subsidiaries of its Nordic customers in the Baltics and global companies with business interests in the Nordics.
“We’re writing to both private and corporate customers that we have to close down their products and services,” a Danske Bank spokesman said on Friday.
Estonia’s Ministry of Finance will close its accounts at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch as of Nov. 30 following the bank’s announcement from April.
“As Danske Bank has declared that in the future they will concentrate only on servicing non-resident business clients and their subsidiaries in Estonia, the Ministry does not deem it necessary to have accounts there any more,” a spokeswoman said.
The Danske Bank spokesman would not say how many accounts it is closing or how many jobs would be affected by the process, which began in late April and will last for around a year.
The time taken was due to the dialogue the bank had with customers and the different notice terms, he added.