Danske Bank to sell Estonian private loans unit to LHV in $458 million deal

A woman walks past Danske Bank's Estonian branch in Tallinn, Estonia January 22, 2019. Picture taken January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danske Bank, which is trying to recover from a major money laundering scandal, has agreed to sell its portfolio of Estonian private loans to LHV Pank in a deal worth 410 million euros ($458.3 million), Estonia’s LHV said on Monday.

Danske Bank has already said it will pull out of the Baltic states and Russia after Estonia earlier this year ordered it to close the branch at the center of one of the largest ever money laundering scandals.

The Estonian bank said it expects to finalize the deal by the autumn. Danske Bank was not immediately available for comment.

The loan portfolio, of which 97% are home loans, is worth around 450 million euros at the time of the deal, said LHV, adding that it will take over serving 10,800 private customers.

LHV said it would have to raise additional capital to fund the acquisition.

Danske is under investigation in Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the United States over some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) in payments from Russia, ex-Soviet states and elsewhere that were found to have flowed through its Estonian arm.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Stephen Coates and Louise Heavens