Sweden's FSA Fines Swedbank SEK4 Billion for Anti-Money Laundering Deficiencies
By Dominic Chopping
STOCKHOLM--Sweden's financial supervisory authority on Thursday
handed Swedbank AB a 4 billion Swedish kronor ($397 million) fine
after its investigation into the lender concluded that its Baltic
operations had serious deficiencies in its anti-money laundering
The Swedish FSA--known as Finansinspektionen--has been
investigating Swedbank in cooperation with supervisory authorities
in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since February last year, after a
Swedish broadcaster reported that billions of dollars of illicit
funds may have passed through the bank's Estonian branch.
In a statement Thursday, the FSA said the bank's awareness of
the risk of money laundering and its processes, routines and
control systems have been insufficient.
The Baltic operations were also lacking adequate resources to
combat money laundering, it said.
"Our investigation shows that the Swedish management did not
efficiently address the risk of money laundering in the Baltics,"
FSA Director General Erik Thedeen said.
"It is also deeply concerning that the bank on a number of
occasions withheld information...that would have revealed the
seriousness and scope of the problems.
Finansinspektionen said its investigation found that Swedbank
had been aware of suspected money-laundering activities in the
Baltics, and despite several internal and external reports warning
about deficiencies in the Baltic subsidiaries and the risk of money
laundering, the bank didn't take proper and sufficient action.
It said it also found a number of examples of how the bank
withheld documentation and information that in retrospect reveal
the seriousness of the situation.
The Estonian regualtor made the same discovery in the course of
its investigation and has ordered Swedbank to take "comprehensive
measures to properly understand and mitigate the risks it faced in
the past and those it faces now."
The Estonian Prosecutor's Office is now investigating whether
money laundering or other criminal acts took place in the bank.
Write to Dominic Chopping at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 19, 2020 13:38 ET (17:38 GMT)
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