A report published by Clifford Chance has revealed that transactions with a high risk of money laundering totaling 37 billion euros were carried out by Swedbank in five years. High-risk individuals in the Baltic region, some of whom had been rejected by another bank were actively pursued by Swedbank and detection of money laundering breaches has made the bank lost over one-third of its value, an event that subsequently led to the dismissal of chief executive Birgitte Bonnesen and much of the board. Swedish and Estonian financial watchdog had already fined Swedbank a record 4 billion Swedish crowns (£334m) over the failings last week as the bank is also facing an investigation in the US, as well as criminal probes in Sweden and Estonia. Swedbank chairman and former Swedish prime minister, Goran Persson said that Swedbank would cancel Bonnesen’s severance pay after it was reported that she failed to address deficiencies in the bank’s anti-money laundering controls during her years at the helm. The report, which Swedbank hired Clifford Chance to carry out, found that some statements made by Bonnesen in late 2018 and early 2019 were “inaccurate or presented without sufficient context”. In early 2019, Bonnesen denied that the bank was involved in the money-laundering scandal emerging in the Baltic region and which also engulfed Danish rival Danske Bank. However, she was ousted as chief executive two months later, just an hour before Swedbank’s annual meeting, as investors lost faith in her handling of the crisis.
Swedbank money laundering report uncovers €37bn ‘high risk’ payments
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