Swedbank branch offices in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have been used to process transactions worth USD 4.8 million (EUR 4.2 million) that may have violated United States sanctions, as uncovered in an internal investigation performed by international law firm Clifford Chance following a request from Swedbank.
Swedbank has informed Stockholm stock exchange of this.
Swedbank will inform the US Department of the Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of results of this investigation, as mentioned in the statement.
Since the beginning of February 2019, Clifford Chance has focused on checking clients, transactions and other operations performed by the bank between 2007 and March 2019. Clifford Chance also paid attention to Swedbank’s reactions to flaws uncovered in its mechanism for money laundering prevention and violations of sanctions.
The law firm also checked all transactions performed in USD by Swedbank branch offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia through the US financial system between 22 March 2014 and 22 March 2019.
[su_quote]Clifford Chance found 586 transactions worth approximately USD 4.8 million that may have breached sanctions.[/su_quote]
95% of those transactions took place between 2015 and 2016. 508 of those transactions were wage payments, as well as payments associated with a boat the owner of which is located in Russian occupied Crimea and who uses Swedbank in Baltic States.
The US Department of the Treasury and its OFAC are expected to take measures, and Swedbank is prepared to cooperate with the office to resolve these matters, as mentioned in the bank’s statement to the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
Swedish public television SBT has reported suspicions that between Danske Bank and Swedbank Baltic structural offices may have been systematic and suspicious transactions performed between 2007 and 2015. The total volume of money that was processed in those transactions reaches at least EUR 3.7 billion.
Multiple countries have commenced an investigation of possible money laundering through Swedbank.