US decision on Danske will not affect Estonian investigation

The former branch of Danske Bank, on Narva mnt in central Tallinn, closed in 2019.
The former branch of Danske Bank, on Narva mnt in central Tallinn, closed in 2019. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Public Prosecutor's Office said the decision of the U.S. Treasury Department to terminate the investigation into money laundering at the Estonian branch of Danske will not affect the ongoing investigation in Estonia.

The U.S. Treasury said on Saturday the branch of Danske Bank was unlikely to violate U.S. sanctions by moving billions of dollars in suspicious funds, Bloomberg reported.

Adviser to the Public Prosecutor's Office Kairi Küngas told ERR the criminal proceedings in Estonia will not be affected by this decision.

"The US proceedings are completely separate. The Estonian criminal proceedings continue," said Küngas.

The Estonian Public Prosecutor's Office initiated a criminal case in the Danske money laundering case in July 2018.

Danske Bank had been under investigation in the USA over alleged money laundering. The bank admitted two years ago that non-resident clients of its Estonian arm have made €200 billion worth of transfers without the parent bank's knowledge.

The bank's in-house investigation found that most of the money was of a suspicious origin.

The USA started to take an interest in transfers by Nordic banks after it turned out they could involve suspicious funds from Russia. Had Danske been found guilty, the bank would have been looking at a sizeable fine.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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