Saturday, May 21, 2022

Swedbank named a suspect in Estonian Money-Laundering Probe

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Swedbank AB said its Estonian unit has been named a suspect in an Estonian money-laundering investigation.

A special white-collar crime investigator with Estonia’s Central Criminal Police notified the bank that Swedbank AS, its Estonian subsidiary, has been summoned as a “suspect to an interrogation,” Swedbank said in a statement released Monday. Estonian investigators are probing whether the Stockholm-based financial institution was involved in money-laundering and other criminal violations.

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The bank said it “cooperates with the authorities” and shares all information.

“The bank has no further information as to how this investigation will proceed or what the implications of it may be,” Swedbank said.

Swedbank has for several years faced law enforcement scrutiny over its operations in the Baltic countries, where the bank has a significant presence.

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Sweden’s financial supervisory authority, known as Finansinspektionen, in 2020 imposed a 4 billion Swedish kronor (about $397 million at the time) fine on the bank after finding serious deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering measures following an investigation in cooperation with authorities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The investigations came after a Swedish broadcaster reported in 2019 that billions of dollars in suspicious transactions, largely linked to Russia, may have passed through Swedbank’s Estonia operations. Swedbank’s board fired Chief Executive Birgitte Bonnesen just over a month after that report aired, following a raid by Swedish police on the bank’s headquarters.

Swedbank earlier this year hired Britta Hjorth-Larsen to serve as its new chief compliance officer.

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