Law Firm Hired by Swedbank Confirms Anti-Money Laundering Shortcomings
By Dominic Chopping
STOCKHOLM--The law firm hired by Swedbank AB to investigate the
bank's potential involvement in historical money-laundering said
Monday that it found the bank had inadequate systems to manage
money-laundering risk, but that it didn't conclude that Swedbank
engaged in money laundering.
The law firm found payments to customer accounts worth 17.8
billion euros ($19.03 billion) and payments from customer accounts
worth EUR18.9 billion in the bank's Baltic subsidiaries between
2014 and 2019 that represented a high risk for money
However, it said it cannot conclude that money laundering has
actually taken place.
Swedbank came under scrutiny in February last year after a
Swedish TV show reported that billions of dollars of potentially
illicit funds may have passed through the bank's Estonian branch.
In response, it hired law firm Clifford Chance to investigate
customers, transactions and activities from 2007 through March 2019
and how the bank handled internal and external information
It has also assessed Swedbank's historical response to
previously identified deficiencies.
In this work, Clifford Chance considered billions of transaction
records, around 160 million customer records, more than 38
terabytes of electronic and scanned hard copy data from Swedbank's
internal files and conducted 100 interviews of 81 people.
Clifford Chance on Monday presented its findings, saying it had
found a number of shortcomings in Swedbank's anti-money laundering
It said Swedbank Estonia and Swedbank Latvia actively pursued
high-risk customers and Swedbank Estonia accepted certain high-risk
customers who had been offboarded as customers in another bank in
Estonia. High-risk customers in Baltic banking were also allowed to
open accounts in the bank's other business areas in Sweden.
Following early findings from the probe, Swedbank recently
notified the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets
Control of potential sanctions violations regarding $4.8 million of
Last week the Swedish financial supervisory authority handed
Swedbank a 4 billion-Swedish kronor ($384.5 million) fine after
finding the lender's Baltic operations had serious deficiencies in
its anti-money laundering measures as well as shortcomings in its
cooperation with the investigation.
Write to Dominic Chopping at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 23, 2020 03:06 ET (07:06 GMT)
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