Danske Bank has decided to close down its operations in Russia and all Baltic States after Estonian authorities ordered it to cease banking operations in the country over money laundering charges.

Directive issued by the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (Estonian FSA) requires the Danish bank to close its Estonian branch and repay customers’ deposits within eight months.

Following the order, Danske decided to terminate its operations in Russia as well as other Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania.

Danske Bank interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said: “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.

“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.”

Currently, Danske Bank’s Estonian branch is under the lens of Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the US authorities for suspicious payments amounting to nearly $226bn.

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According to Danske’s 2018 annual report, operations from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Estonia generated $100m in income.

The decision is estimated to affect around 3,000 staff of the bank. However, many of them are expected to continue with Danske as its administrative office in Lithuania will continue to operate, reported Reuters.