Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Sweden’s SEB replaces Baltic chief amid money laundering probe

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Sweden’s SEB appointed a new head of baltic banking on Friday, just months after the lender became swept up in a money laundering scandal in the region.

Jonas Ahlstrom, formerly the bank’s chief financial officer in the Baltics, will replace Riho Unt as leader of SEB’s Baltic division with immediate effect.

I am happy that Jonas Ahlström accepted the important task of leading the Baltic division. He has a proven track record from his long career within SEB,” said bank CEO Johan Torgeby.

Sweden’s financial watchdog has been investigating SEB over its alleged role in a Baltic money laundering scandal.

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In December, the regulator said it had observed “deficiencies and weaknesses” at SEB and would now decide whether to impose a financial penalty.

SEB was drawn into the scandal in November, when the bank said Swedish Television (SVT) would feature it in an upcoming investigative documentary on the issue. SEB shares fell 13%.

After the SVT programme aired, Torgeby told Reuters it showed “nothing new,” as the bank had already cut ties with the accounts it suspected of money laundering.

He also said SEB had “not been used for money laundering in a systematic way”.

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SEB is the second-biggest bank in the Baltics behind Swedbank, a Swedish peer also under investigation for suspected money laundering in the region.

Former Baltic head Riho Unt will act as an adviser for SEBs financial crime prevention programme until he leaves the bank in the summer of 2020, SEB said.

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