Swedbank report reveals "suspicious" ballistic payments of $ 10 billion

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By Esha Vaish and Johannes Hellstrom

STOCKHOLM (More Bank) – An internal Swedbank report released in September reported "suspicious" transactions totaling about $ 10 billion between Swedbank and Danske Bank customers in the Baltic States from 2007 to 2015, Swedish TV SVT reported. .

Swedbank said on Friday that the figure quoted by SVT was the gross amount of transactions with the Danish Danske Bank identified during its first review and that it had taken steps to counter any suspicious activity, including reporting customers to the police.

According to the report, which More Bank has not seen yet, a large number of suspicious customers have moved 3.2 billion euros ($ 3.6 billion) and $ 6.7 billion between the two banks, more than double the number previously identified by SVT.

Several European and foreign banks have been dragged into the scandal Danske Bank, which deals with suspicious transactions of an amount of 200 billion euros, originating in Russia and elsewhere and having passed through his Estonian agency in 2007-2015.

"As we have said many times, we are acting on different signals, so it was natural for us to act when the revelations about Danske Bank were made public," the statement said in a statement. CEO of Swedbank, Birgitte Bonnesen.

"In last year's analysis, we looked at both current and former customers in the Baltic countries … In many cases it was not necessary to But in some cases, we have, for example, made financial reports to the police, "she said.

Swedbank shares, which have lost more than 16% since the release of an SVT report on February 20, have sold at least SEK 40 billion ($ 4.3 billion) in suspicious transactions with Danske Bank, down 0.6% to 175.05 kroner (1129 GMT).

FOUR-WAY PROBE

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) said that it had received a report from Swedbank on 1 March alleging suspicion of money laundering, which it included in an investigation into course.

The regulator, known as FI in Sweden, announced in February that it was conducting a joint investigation with the Estonian Financial Supervisory Service and was establishing contacts with Latvia and Lithuania. On Friday, it was announced that a four-part investigation was underway.

"This report is one of the many data that will be part of FI's joint investigation with the three Baltic regulators," the group said in a statement.

Danske Bank and the Estonian watchdog refused to comment. Regulators in Lithuania and Latvia could not be contacted immediately for comment.

Swedbank is under pressure from some of its major shareholders to reveal more about what it knows about the allegations. The bank hired external auditors, FRA, to review the initial SVT report after investors' requests.

"For more significant details, we will have to wait for the findings of the FRA report before the AGM and see the extent of the FSA's review in Sweden," KBW analysts said. which benefit from a rating "on the market" and a target price of 200 crowns. on Swedbank.

Ramsay Brufer, head of corporate governance at Alecta, the bank's third investor, said it was supposed that Swedbank had forwarded the internal report to FRA for review. Swedbank did not respond to More Bank' request for comment.

Swedbank said in its press release that its internal report covered a thorough analysis of approximately 2,000 customers in the Baltic countries.

The bank, which has 900,000 private customers and 130,000 corporate clients in Estonia, also said that, based on last year's transactions marked by its anti-money laundering systems, it had sent four notifications a day to the Estonian Financial Police.

Swedbank declined to comment on the original SVT report data and a criminal complaint of Bill Browder, an investor who campaigns to denounce corruption, claiming that she could not comment on the details because of Swedish legislation on banking secrecy.

($ 1 = 9.2763 Swedish kronor)

(1 USD = 0.8834 euros)

(Report by Johannes Hellstrom and Esha Vaish in Stockholm, additional report by Tarmo Vikri in Estonia and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Denmark, edited by Kim Coghill, Mark Potter and Alexander Smith)