There have been major deficiencies in Nordea's work to prevent money laundering. This means there is a high probability that if people have tried to launder money or finance terrorism that they could have done so without Nordea having been able to detect this. Nordea is therefore receiving a warning and is ordered to pay the maximum administrative fine of SEK 50 million.
Over SEK 100 billion are laundered in Sweden every year. It is extremely important that this societal problem is counteracted by banks doing what they can to prevent criminals from laundering gains from criminal activities or organisations and people from financing terrorism.
Banks must evaluate how high the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing is throughout their operation and also evaluate the risks associated with each customer. Where the risk is high, banks must have extra checks for both these customers and their transactions.
Nordea has not complied with the money laundering rules for several years. The bank has not evaluated the risks associated with various customer groups and in some cases has been unaware of whether they actually have high risk customers. Nordea has thus not had the kind of additional checks for these customers or their transactions as required by the rules.
At the same time the bank has not made any basic checks of these customers or actually followed up the information. The bank's automatic system for checking transactions has also been extremely sub-standard.
Overall, Nordea has lacked an effective system to detect and prevent money laundering for several years. This means that if people have tried to launder money or finance terrorism that they could have done so without Nordea having been able to detect this. This is very serious.
Nordea received a remark and a high administrative fine as late as 2013 for having breached the money laundering rules and the EU's sanctions regulation. This decision related to deficiencies other than those referred to here, yet it nonetheless confirms the picture of a bank that has had problems with complying with the money laundering framework. FI is now issuing a warning to Nordea with the maximum administrative fine of SEK 50 million.
FI will hold a press conference today at 09.30 at FI's premises. Martin Noréus (acting Director General) and Per Håkansson (Chief Legal Counsel) will be there to answer any questions. The press conference is for the media only, but will be broadcast live on FI's website.