18 Nov 2019
The prospect that another big Nordic bank will be dragged into the widening scandal over money laundering in the Baltics rattled investors Friday.
Shares of Sweden’s SEB AB plunged the most since the peak of the financial crisis after the bank said it was contacted by SVT, the nation’s public broadcaster, on plans to include it in a program about dirty money. The disclosure lopped as much as 15% from SEB’s market value and hit its bonds.
SEB, like Swedbank AB, has broad operations in the Baltic region, and SVT has been at the forefront of allegations that Swedbank’s operations there were linked to the Danske Bank A/S money-laundering scandal that involved hundreds of billions of dollars in suspicious transactions originating mainly in Russia. Swedbank is under investigation in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and the U.S., and in March fired its chief executive following the SVT reports. Estonia expelled Danske Bank earlier this year. SEB has not been implicated in the scandal.
In its statement Friday, Stockholm-based SEB said it had received questions from reporters at SVT’s Uppdrag Granskning program. The bank said it had no further knowledge of the program’s content.
“In order to be transparent, SEB chooses to disclose this information to the market,” it said. In a statement on Nov. 7, Swedbank said it too was contacted by SVT for a program that would air Nov. 20.
By Hanna Hoikkala and Niklas Magnusson, Bloomberg, 15 November 2019
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