Thursday, October 29, 2020

Swedbank Suspends CEO, CFO of Estonian Unit Amid Money Laundering Probe


Swedbank AB late Monday suspended the chief executive and chief financial officer of its Estonian business amid a continuing internal investigation into compliance of money laundering rules at the bank.

Swedbank came under scrutiny in February after a Swedish broadcaster reported that billions of dollars of illicit funds may have passed through the bank’s Estonian branch in a link to money laundering at Danske Bank AS (DANSKE.KO). Former Chief Executive Birgitte Bonnesen was ousted in March over the scandal while then Chairman Lars Idermark quit shortly after.

In April Swedbank set up an anti-financial crime unit within the bank and appointed law firm Clifford Chance to lead an internal investigation. Financial regulators in the U.S., Sweden and three Baltic countries have launched probes into the bank’s risk management and controls.

Read MoreSwedbank admits to shortcomings in anti-money laundering steps

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The current chair of the management board and CEO of Swedbank Estonia, Robert Kitt, and the current CFO and management board member of Swedbank Estonia, Vaiko Tammevali, will both leave their positions on the management board and have been suspended until further notice, the bank said.

Furthermore, council member Priit Perens will end his employment with the bank and has left the council.

This is a “consequence of the ongoing internal investigation,” said Charlotte Elsnitz, head of Baltic banking at Swedbank.

“As previously communicated, Swedbank has initiated an in-depth internal investigation with the help of external resources to investigate historical anti-money-laundering compliance and Swedbank will continuously act upon the conclusions of the investigations.”

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Olavi Lepp, currently chief risk officer, is named acting chairman of the management board and acting CEO of Swedbank Estonia, while Anna Kouts, currently head of treasury, is named acting CFO and acting member of the management board.


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