Sweden’s Money Laundering Affair Brings Bankers Closer to Police
28 May 2020

The bank at the center of Sweden’s biggest money-laundering scandal says illegal transactions are probably still flowing through the financial system, because existing tools to stop them aren’t good enough.

Swedbank AB, which was fined over $400 million in March for failing to halt suspicious flows, has now teamed up with police and other banks in Sweden to figure out how to get better at fighting financial crime.

Anders Ekedahl, the head of Swedbank’s anti-financial crime unit in Stockholm, says the problem is that crooks can hide behind a sea of data. What’s more, banks have complained that they can’t freely share information on potentially illegal client conduct, for fear of breaching bank secrecy and privacy laws. That makes it hard to catch clients who use multiple banks to launder cash.

“It’s not like criminals try to make it easy for banks. There are several stages in each transaction, and without seeing all those stages it’s hard to finish that puzzle,” Ekedahl said.

Since money laundering allegations first stained the reputation of Nordic banks, the industry has lobbied for new laws to allow greater information sharing. Banks also want more freedom to drop potentially dodgy clients.

By Hanna Hoikkala, Bloomberg, 27 May 2020

Read more at Bloomberg

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