Swedbank Fined $397 Million over Anti-Money Laundering Measures

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Swedbank AB has been added a 4 billion Swedish kronor ($397 million) fine by Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority after being indicted in serious deficiencies in its anti-money laundering measures investigation. The authority—known as Finansinspektionen—has been investigating Swedbank in cooperation with supervisory authorities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since February 2019 after a Swedish broadcaster reported that potentially suspicious transactions may have passed through the bank’s Estonian branch. The investigation according to the authority revealed the bank’s insufficiency in its awareness of the risk of money laundering and its processes, routines and control systems had been insufficient. The investigation also revealed bank’s Baltic operations were also lacking adequate resources to combat money laundering. Swedbank’s President and CEO, Mr Henriksson acknowledged that the bank’s effort in money laundering controls needs to be improved on and that the shortcomings observed by the Financial Supervisory Authorities will be managed and remedied without delay.

The authority said it also discovered how the bank withheld documentation and information that revealed the seriousness of the situation as the investigation shows that the Swedish management did not efficiently address the risk of money laundering in the Baltics. Years back, Swedbank had undergone a leadership shuffle, hiring top risk and compliance executives. A new chief executive was named by the lender in August, the lender also appointed a permanent chief compliance officer in September and this month named a new chief risk officer. Last week, Swedbank said it notified the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control of potential sanctions violations regarding $4.8 million of transactions following an internal probe.