Danske Bank said it has started a hiring freeze to cope with rising compliance costs and a tough business environment. 

Danske Bank has been rocked by its involvement in a major money laundering scandal. 

It said last year it had channelled €200 billion of payments through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, many of which the bank said were suspicious. 

The bank said in February it would spend up to $295m to step up anti-money laundering efforts, such as improving IT systems and hiring compliance staff.  

"The hiring freeze comes after we've seen higher compliance costs and costs related to our anti-money laundering efforts," a spokesman said. 

"This is part of our ongoing focus on costs, as we, like all other banks, are challenged by low interest rates and low margins," he said. 

The hiring freeze would not include critical positions such as regulatory jobs, the spokesman said.

He did not say how much it would save on the hiring freeze or how long it would be in place.