Es­to­nian banks close for­eigner ac­counts in wake of ABLV clo­sure

Baltic News Network - - Front Page -

In the wake of the clo­sure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and al­leged money laun­der­ing via the Es­to­nian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Es­to­nia are clos­ing the ac­counts of for­eign­ers, but this threat­ens the coun­try’s suc­cess­ful e-Res­i­dency pro­gramme aimed at at­tract­ing for­eign in­vestors.

Es­to­nian pub­lic broad­caster ERR re­ports that for the past year and a half, non-res­i­dents have been faced with the is­sue of banks re­fus­ing to open ac­counts for them in Es­to­nia with banks’ ar­gu­ing that the fees earned on non-res­i­dents do not cover the costs in­volved in su­per­vis­ing them.

«Ac­cord­ing to my in­for­ma­tion, one small Es­to­nian bank has closed 1,000 bank ac­counts in re­cent months,» Es­to­nian-based busi­ness con­sul­tant Ron Lu­vištšuk has said in an in­ter­view with the ERR. «This means that large banks may have closed 5,000 to 10,000 ac­counts. And they are not only clos­ing the ac­counts of non-res­i­dents from third coun­tries, but also those of EU cit­i­zens. Banks are afraid».

Of­fer­ing non-EU busi­ness­peo­ple eas­ier ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket, Es­to­nia’s e-Res­i­dency pro­gramme now in­volves close to 30,000 eres­i­dents in 143 coun­tries world­wide.

REUTERS/SCANPIX

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