Swedish Regulator Fines SEB $107 Million, Citing Lax Anti-Money-Laundering Efforts
29 Jun 2020

Sweden’s financial supervisory authority fined Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB 1 billion Swedish kronor ($107.3 million) following a delayed review of the bank’s efforts to prevent money laundering at Baltic branches.

The regulator, known as the Finansinspektionen, was investigating the bank’s anti-money-laundering governance and controls in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In a decision released Thursday, the regulator said SEB didn’t comply with rules on monitoring business relationships and transactions.

The investigation found that SEB lacked sufficient anti-money-laundering governance, controls and resources at its Baltic subsidiary banks. The authority said that those deficiencies “may result in risks for SEB AB at both group level and institution level and that the bank must manage such risks.”

SEB said it would analyze the regulator’s decision. “We always strive to adhere to current regulations and our high internal standards, and we continuously develop the bank’s abilities to prevent, detect and report suspected money laundering and other types of financial crime,” SEB President and Chief Executive Johan Torgeby said in a statement. “That work is of highest priority and will never end, not least since crime constantly finds new ways.”

A large portion of business in SEB’s Baltic operations came from nonresident customers, including many whom the subsidiary banks themselves had classified as high risk, the regulator said.

“Parts of the operations in SEB AB’s subsidiary banks have been exposed to an elevated risk of money laundering,” it said, “not only due to the general increase in the risk level from their geographical location but also due to the composition of the subsidiary banks’ customer relationships.”

By Jack Hagel and Adriano Marchese, The Wall Street Journal, 25 June 2020

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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