Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Swedbank Appoints Ingrid Harbo as Chief Compliance Officer

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Swedbank AB said Tuesday that it has appointed Ingrid Harbo as permanent chief compliance officer, as investigations into its anti-money-laundering work continue.

The Sweden-based bank came under scrutiny in February after a Swedish broadcaster reported that billions of dollars of illicit funds may have passed through its Estonian branch in a link to money laundering at Danske Bank AS .

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Former Chief Executive Birgitte Bonnesen was ousted in March over the scandal. Chairman Lars Idermark quit shortly after. Ms. Bonnesen declined to comment.

Swedbank last month said banking and financial industry veteran Jens Henriksson would take over as chief executive.

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Swedbank also said Tuesday that it submitted answers to questions it received from the Financial Supervisory Authorities in Sweden and Estonia, as a result of ongoing investigations of the bank. The bank’s board of directors also decided to waive a legal privilege protecting work done by a lawyer on behalf of the bank, Swedbank said.

The Swedish lender said that its anti-money-laundering work still has certain shortcomings and that it is working to ensure regulatory compliance going forward.

“Swedbank has continuously improved its system support, processes and routines,” the company said in a statement. “The bank has also terminated relations with clients who do not meet regulatory requirements or the bank’s policy.”

Swedbank said that, in the past, it didn’t allocate sufficient resources to manage the risk of money laundering by clients and third parties.

“The division of responsibilities within the bank has not been clear enough, and the bank has not always complied with internal policies,” the company said, citing shortcomings in know-your-customer and risk assessments in its Swedish and Estonian operations.

In February, Swedbank commissioned the law firm Clifford Chance to conduct an internal investigation into the bank’s historical shortcomings, which is expected to be completed in early 2020.

The bank said that as well as serving as its chief compliance officer, Ms. Harbo will continue to be co-opted to the group executive committee.

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