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The oldest bank in Sweden may have handled many more suspicious transactions related to Danske Bank A / S's money-laundering scandal than previously announced.
Swedbank AB, which dominates the financial markets in the Baltic region, would have been used for about 95 billion kroner ($ 10.2 billion) in suspicious transactions, according to the main Swedish TV channel, SVT, which quotes an internal review realized by the bank last year. This amount is more than double the number of suspicious flows reported by SVT less than a month ago.
This is not the first time that allegations of money laundering against a large Nordic bank are multiplying. Danske Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, acknowledged last year that much of the approximately $ 230 billion paid by the intermediate of a very small Estonian unit had a suspicious origin. This scandal began with reports of questionable flows of only $ 200 million.
In a statement to the stock market Friday, Swedbank said that she "takes responsibility for preventing and detecting money laundering very seriously".
The bank indicated that the figures mentioned in the SVT report correspond to the total number of all the transactions that were carried out when Swedbank assessed the flows between Danske Bank and Swedbank in 2007-2015 on the basis of a number of Risk indicators. He then conducted a thorough review of some 2,000 customers. Swedbank stated that it was not accepted that all the transactions covered by the review, which had been initiated by the bank following the Danske scandal, were suspicious in nature.
"In many cases, it was not necessary to act further, but in some cases, we have made reports to the financial police," he said.
"As we have said many times, we are acting on different signals," said Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen. "So it was natural for us to act when the information about Danske Bank was published on the market. That was the bottom of our analysis.
Swedbank shares fell 2.6% in Stockholm this Friday. The stock is down nearly 20% since mid-February, when allegations of links to the scandal Danske have appeared.
In October, Bonnesen repeatedly assured the public that there was no indication of suspicious flows at Swedbank linking the bank to the Danske scandal in Estonia. After SVT reported in February that about 50 Swedbank clients had transferred about 40 billion Swedish kroner between Swedbank and Danske from 2007 to 2015, it was forced to go back.
SVT claims that the internal report revealing SEK 95 billion in suspicious flows was sent to Bonnesen last September, a month earlier, stating that there was no connection to the scandal Danske.
Last month, the bank hired Forensic Risk Alliance to conduct an external review of initial SVT applications. The result of this investigation is expected on March 28, when Swedbank will hold its Annual General Meeting with its shareholders.
Swedbank has 900,000 private customers and 130,000 companies in Estonia, where it has a market share of around 50%. On Friday, the bank said that out of the millions of transactions made each day by Estonian Swedbank customers last year, it received an average of 80 warning signs every day. After extensive analysis of these transactions, Swedbank sent about four notifications a day to the Estonian Financial Police.
(Updates with the course of action.)
To contact the reporter on this story: Niklas Magnusson in Stockholm at nmagnusson1@More Bank.net
To contact the makers of this story: Tasneem Hanfi Brögger at tbrogger@More Bank.net, Frances Schwartzkopff
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