“We need to make advancements in the fight against money laundering here and now, within the current system and regulatory framework,” asserted Erik Thedéen at the Swedish Bankers’ Association’s annual Bank Meeting.
Finansinspektionen (FI) strengthened its anti-money laundering supervision in 2019, in part by dedicating considerable resources to reviewing major Swedish banks’ governance and control of anti-money laundering measures in Baltic subsidiaries.
FI is opening a sanction case in the investigation into Swedbank AB’s governance and control of measures to combat money laundering in the bank’s subsidiaries in the Baltic countries.
FI’s Director General spoke today at the Finansdagen conference in Stockholm.
At a conference today, Deputy Director General Martin Noréus shared his views on capital adequacy in Swedish banks and how capital adequacy will be impacted by forthcoming regulations. Mr. Noréus also gave a process update on ongoing AML investigations and concluded that money-laundering risks will become a bigger consideration in prudential supervision.
During the month of July, FI sent notification letters to SEB and Swedbank as part of the investigations into the banks’ management and control of money laundering risks in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Heads of the Nordic and Baltic financial supervisors met today in Stockholm. They agreed on measures to enhance the cooperation between the authorities with the aim of fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.
FI sends verification letters at an early stage of its investigation process, and the aim of this letter is to verify the facts of the case. Verification letters may at times also include preliminary assessments, but these assessments assume that the information FI received is correct and has been understood correctly.
Over the past few weeks, the media has reported on potentially major problems related to money laundering primarily in Swedbank’s Estonian operations. These reports have caused the bank’s share price to fall and had a negative impact on the bank’s reputation.
FI has received a copy of Swedbank’s external review that was initiated by reports in the media of suspected money laundering in the Baltics.
FI confirms that it received a report from Swedbank on 1 March regarding suspected money laundering.
“We are taking the initiative to strengthen our international supervisory collaboration against money laundering and we are redistributing our own resources to increase our supervision capacity,” says FI’s Director General Erik Thedéen after today’s meeting with Minister for Financial Markets and Housing Per Bolund.
SVT’s investigative journalism program Uppdrag Granskning has reported on certain transactions that occurred through Swedbank’s operations in the Baltics.
Due to the reports in the media regarding suspected money laundering in Swedbank’s Estonian operations, FI is issuing the following comments.
Eesti Finantsinspektioon (the Estonian FSA) and Finansinspektionen (the Swedish FSA) consider the reports regarding suspected money laundering that yesterday were made public yesterday on Swedish television (SVT) to be very serious. It is extremely important that the banks’ senior management and boards of directors view these matters seriously and take all necessary actions to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
FI considers the disclosures regarding suspected money laundering presented by SVT’s program Uppdrag Granskning to be very serious. FI’s Director General Erik Thedéen has made the assessment in several interviews in conjunction with the events in Danske Bank that the possibility of Swedish banks being involved in money laundering cannot be ruled out entirely, but that the scope is most likely more narrow than what has been identified in Danske Bank.
We consider the recent disclosures regarding money laundering and other regulatory infringements in Swedish banks to be very serious. It is extremely important for the banks' management teams and boards of directors to take these matters seriously and ensure that the banks are following the laws and regulations.
FI would like to clarify which decisions FI has made, which decisions were appealed and which rulings the courts announced with regard to a number of investigations into money laundering at Swedish banks.
The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet previously appealed FI’s decisions regarding drafts of assessments in investigation matters. The Administrative Court of Appeal of Stockholm announced its ruling in the case today. The Administrative Court of Appeal upholds FI’s decision and thus rejects Svenska Dagbladet’s appeal.
It is FI’s assessment that firms in general have a greater awareness of the regulations than in previous investigations and are committing more resources to their work to prevent money laundering. But more needs to be done.