Russian intelligence services used Estonia to finance foreign operations

Dirty Money: Russia’s largest tax refund laundered into foreign banks | Sunday night

This was stated by the Minister of Finance of Estonia Martin Helme

Helme said the Estonian authorities are investigating whether persons under US sanctions were involved in these operations. The Estonian banking sector is currently undergoing reforms that began after it was revealed that Russian officials had withdrawn $ 220 billion through the local branch of Danske Bank..

The Kremlin, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on Helme’s statement.

“There are two types of funds coming from Russia. One of them is the stolen money that they want to withdraw from Russia, “Helme said in an interview, adding that the rest of the funds are” very closely connected “with the Russian special services.

Helme, who heads a commission investigating money laundering and terrorist financing operations, says some of the money “was used by Russian intelligence agencies to fund foreign operations.”.

Danske Bank left Estonia this year after the management of the bank’s branch admitted its involvement in the sending of funds of suspicious origin between 2007 and 2015.

Helme did not elaborate on which Russian organizations were involved, nor did he provide any evidence to support his claims. Estonia is studying the cash flows that have passed through the country in recent years and is sharing information with the US authorities, Helme said. According to him, now the country’s authorities are investigating the possible involvement of people under US sanctions in these operations..

“We are very concerned about this,” added the head of the Estonian Ministry of Finance. Helme said he discussed international sanctions during his meeting with Marshall Billingsley, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Investigation..Russian intelligence services used Estonia to finance foreign operations The meeting took place in Washington in October.

Helme said that representatives of the Russian authorities recently visited Estonia. “They [came] here to find out what we know and use that information to better conceal their operations,” the minister said..

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