Following the case of suspicious transactions in Estonia in the period from 2007 to 2015, the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (the Estonian FSA) has ordered Danske Bank to cease banking operations in Estonia, which Danske Bank has agreed to do.

“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 FSA, against this background, finds it best that Danske Bank discontinues its Estonian banking activities,” says Jesper Nielsen, Interim CEO of Danske Bank. “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.”

In recent years, Danske Bank has stepped up anti-money laundering initiatives considerably.

Closing down activities in Latvia, Lithuania and Russia
Independently of the notification from the Estonian FSA 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.

However, Danske Bank’s shared services centre in Lithuania, which undertakes a number of administrative functions for Danske Bank, will continue its operations.

Jesper Nielsen continues:
“In recent years, we have pursued a strategy of focusing on our Nordic core markets and have also reduced our Baltic activities in connection with this. The decision to close down our activities completely in the Baltics and in Russia is fully in keeping with this strategy. In close cooperation with relevant authorities, we will make sure that the process takes customer and employee interests into account in the best possible way.”

In 2015, Danske Bank entered into an agreement to sell its personal customer business in Lithuania and Latvia to Swedbank. A decision was also made in 2018 that in the Baltic countries, Danske Bank will serve only subsidiaries of Danske Bank’s Nordic customers and global companies with a significant Nordic footprint. All other banking activities were transferred to Danske Bank’s Non-core unit to be wound up or divested.

The decision will have no bearing on Danske Bank’s guidance for 2019.