Estonia Warns Banks’ Anti-Laundering Measures Stifle Business


(Bloomberg) --

Estonia’s finance minister urged the country’s biggest lenders to fine tune anti-money laundering measures as a clampdown following one of Europe’s largest dirty money scandals harms legitimate businesses.

“The expectation of the state to the banks is clear: business activities, transactions can’t suffer while you’re doing your due diligence in fighting money laundering,” Martin Helme said Wednesday after meeting financial institutions and supervisory bodies. “Differentiating between the good and bad, as well as training people and setting up alerts, must be smarter.”

As an example, Helme cited a decision last year by a U.S. company to abandon a “sizable” investment in Estonia after three large banks refused to open an account for it. He declined to give further details.

Estonia, a European Union and euro-area member of 1.3 million people, is still reeling after allegations emerged that the local units of Danske Bank A/A and Swedbank AB were used to funnel billions of dollars in questionable cash to the West from the former Soviet Union.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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