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Swedbank handed fresh multi-million euro fine for anti-money laundering shortcomings

Image: Øjvind Harkamp

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

ONE OF the largest banks in Sweden has been handed a financial penalty for AML deficiencies that lasted several years and were known to senior management.   

Swedbank will now pay a total of SEK46.6M (€4.57M) over twelve annual payments following a review by Nasdaq Stockholm AB (Nasdaq) – the principal securities exchange entity serving the Nordics.  

In a review, Nasdaq found that the bank had specific “shortcomings” in its AML processes, and that these persisted for three years from 2016-2019.  

The review also alleged that those shortcomings were known to the bank’s top management for a long but unspecified period.  

In its most recent quarterly report published in April, the bank stated that it “largely concurs” with Nasdaq’s conclusions.  

“During the last year, the bank has undertaken several measures to strengthen processes for the disclosure of information,” said Swedbank President and CEO Jens Henriksson.  

“Today’s decision means that yet another issue concerning the bank’s historical shortcomings, is closed.” 

Those “historical shortcomings” continue to cause headaches for the Swedish institution, which could not escape the fallout of what was described as “possibly the largest money laundering scandal ever in Europe:” the Danske Bank scandal.  

After it was revealed that billions in potentially fraudulent cash had been processed by Danske’s Estonian branch, Swedbank was identified as a possible channel through which these funds were transferred.  

In December 2020, it was reported that the FBI and Department of Justice in the United States was making fresh investigations into a number of institutions related to the scandal, including Swedbank. 

At the time, Swedbank had already disclosed that American agencies were looking into its role in the scandal, but the involvement of the FBI was understood to be a fresh development.  

The bank was hit with a massive fine of SEK4BN (approx. €380M) just over a year ago for in relation to the scandal – again for deficiencies in its AML frameworks and for withholding those deficiencies from authorities.   

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