Leaked documents indicate that Nordea Bank and other institutions processed billions of euros in suspicious transactions from a network of shell companies, Finnish television network Yle reported Monday.
The data leak shows that 700 million euros flowed through the bank despite signs that at least some of the funds could likely be traced back to criminal activity, according to the network, which also reported that the shell companies and funds were linked to associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian businessmen.
The documents, which were also obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Lithuanian website 15min.lt, focus primarily on wire transfers from the Lithuanian banks Ūkio and Snoras—two now-defunct institutions suspected of having laundered Russian money. Other records include emails and corporate documents created from 2005 to 2017, Yle said.
The records separately indicate that a charity run by Prince Charles took donations from an offshore firm believed to have funneled billions of pounds in Russian money, including the proceeds of frauds committed during Putin’s presidency, according to the Guardian, which obtained access to the data through OCCRP.
A Russia-controlled network of 70 offshore firms with Lithuanian bank accounts sent some £3.5 billion to Europe and the United States, according to the newspaper. The recipients, who may not have known that at least some of the money was dirty, used the cash to pay for luxury property, football tickets, private school fees, yachts and private jets, the Guardian said.
The suspicious funds stemmed in part from Troika Dialog, Russia’s largest private investment bank, OCCRP reported. The bank, once run by wealthy Putin ally Ruben Vardanyan, facilitated the movement of billions of dollars in and out of the country from 2006 through early 2013, including through transactions involving Citigroup, Raiffeisen and Deutsche Bank, the organization said.
Many of the larger transactions were cited as trade deals and invoiced as “goods,” “food goods,” “metal goods,” “auto parts,” and “bills,” OCCRP said.
To obtain commercial banking services for entities involved in the scheme, Troika Dialog turned to Ūkio Bankas, which ultimately set up accounts for at least 35 firms before Lithuania’s National Bank seized it in 2013 for risky business practices and related compliance failures, according to the report.
You can claim CPD minutes for reading this article, by signing up to our CPD Wallet
FREE CPD Wallet