19 Mar 2019
Swedbank will publish the findings of a third-party investigation into whether it processed over $10 billion linked to a purported Russian money laundering network, the institution said Monday.
The Stockholm-based lender hired Forensic Risk Analysis to conduct the analysis in February following a report by Swedish television company SVT alleging that the suspicious funds moved between the institution’s Estonian affiliate and Danske Bank between 2007 and 2015. Danske Bank is the subject of related investigations in Denmark, Estonia, France, Britain and the United States, according to media reports.
In a statement, Swedbank said it would release Forensic Risk Alliance’s conclusions and field press questions on the report this Friday.
The announcement comes on the heels of an SVTreport that amended the total sum of suspicious transactions handled by Sweden’s largest bank to $10.2 billion, up from a previously reported $5.8 billion. Included in the allegations are claims that Swedbank transferred millions of dollars out of Ukraine on behalf of the country’s since-ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
Roughly $26 million of the suspicious transactions purportedly stemmed from a massive Russian tax fraud first identified by deceased attorney Sergei Magnitsky, according to SVT. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after reporting the alleged theft of tax refunds due to U.S.-based investment fund Hermitage Capital Management.
On Friday, Swedbank said it had conducted an audit of its current and former clients in Baltic countries last year and had identified approximately 2,000 customers to be reviewed in-depth for signs of illicit activity. In some instances, bank executives forwarded relevant information obtained from the review to law enforcement officials.
“We are a bank for the many households and corporates, but unfortunately, criminals try to abuse the financial system,” Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen said in the statement. “For us, it is important that the criminals feel that it is not worthwhile to [commit crimes] in Swedbank.”
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