The European Central Bank (ECB) has revoked the authorisation of Estonian financial firm Versobank to operate as a credit institution following the request of national watchdog Finantsinspektsioon.
The action was taken due to its failure to eliminate severe breaches of legal requirements to prevent money laundering and combating terrorism financing.
Following the decision, all transactions and operations of Versobank were immediately suspended.
Finantsinspektsioon also informed the Guarantee Fund about the withdrawal and it has also filed an application to the court seeking compulsory dissolution and the appointment of liquidators.
Finantsinspektsioon chairman of the board Kilvar Kessler said: “As financial intermediaries are one of the first and most important lines of defence combating money laundering and terrorist financing, we cannot tolerate any breaches of the law by them.
“The withdrawal of the authorisation of Versobank AS is a clear signal that Estonia will not tolerate breaches of anti-money laundering and combating of terrorism law.”
During on-site inspections in 2015-2017, the Financial Supervision Authority found that Versobank violated anti-money laundering and the combating the financing of terrorism legislation.
The bank did not fully eliminate them even after the intervention of Finantsinspektsioon, following which, the latter initiated the authorisation withdrawal procedure.
It submitted the official application to the ECB to withdraw the authorisation of Versobank on 8 February 2018.
Kessler added that revoking the authorisation of Versobank is an isolated case and do not threaten other credit institutions that are currently operating in Estonia.