November 1, 2019 / 12:05 PM / 12 days ago

Russia annuls license for Danske Bank's local unit, as requested

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Danske Bank headquarters in Copenhagen, Oct. 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank has annulled Danske Bank’s (DANSKE.CO) banking license in the country following a request from the Danish lender, which is pulling out of Russia and the Baltics following a money-laundering scandal.

The central bank said on Friday Danske Bank had requested to liquidate its Russian business. It did not say when the request was made, nor whether the bank had provided it with an explanation for the decision.

Danske’s local bank was Russia’s 240th biggest by assets. The central bank said the business had enough assets to pay its creditors back.

Denmark’s biggest bank is under investigation over 200 billion euros ($220 billion) of suspicious payments from Russia and elsewhere that were moved through its Estonian branch. Estonia ordered the bank to close that branch this year.

Danske said the loss of its Russian unit’s license was “according to plan”, after it said in February it would fold its banking activities in Russia and the Baltics.

Russia’s Deposit Insurance Agency, a state-run entity in charge of paying out retail deposits in the event a bank folds, said data from Oct. 1 showed it was liable to four depositors at Danske’s Russian unit for a total of about 51,000 roubles ($797).

Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Andrey Kuzmin in Moscow, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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