Swedbank linked to money laundering

In the course of the money-laundering investigations at Danske Bank the focus has now shifted to Swedbank. The Swedish television channel SVT has reported that suspicious transactions have been uncovered at the Swedish bank. The financial supervisory authorities in Sweden and Estonia have launched a joint investigation into the matter. Lithuania is also taking part in the investigations. Do the Scandinavian banks still have a future in the Baltic region?

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Financial watchdog must be less trusting

In the course of the money laundering affair Svenska Dagbladet revealed that the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority postponed a closer investigation into Swedbank's activities years ago. The time of negligence must come to an end now, writes Dagens Nyheter:

“It's just ten years since Swedbank almost went under in the financial crisis due to lack of trust and risky loans in the Baltic region. This time it's money laundering that - if it can be proven - will see Swedbank facing fines running into the billions. This is a bank that is critical for the system. Trust in it affects society as a whole. ... Since we don't live in a perfect idyll with dutiful and law-abiding citizens, perhaps it's time to display a little more distrust - and a lot less naivety.”

Äripäev (EE) /

Scandinavian banks in trouble

Swedbank must now be truly open and cooperative, demands Äripäev:

“The money laundering scandal which began with Danske Bank is spreading like wildfire and burning down the Scandinavian banks one after another. Just as the Finnish police launched an investigation against Nordea Bank, SVT has uncovered suspicious transactions amounting to billions between Danske Bank and Swedbank which took place between 2007 and 2015. Swedbank must now show transparency otherwise not just the bank but the banking system as a whole, the economy and the state will suffer. These are serious accusations that are also causing further damage to Estonia's reputation.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Accusations just a pretext

Like Danske Bank, now Swedbank is also being squeezed out of the Baltic market with money laundering accusations, Neatkarīgā fears:

“Danske Bank was squeezed out of the Baltic market to make way for [the Norwegian] Luminor Bank. Now Swedbank has been warned that it could suffer a similar fate. With Danske Bank it was made public that it was implicated in money laundering activities. And it was immediately revealed that billions of euros had been exchanged between Danske Bank and Swedbank in recent years. ... Now Swedbank is being given time to clarify behind the scenes whether it will agree to the share of the market that has been earmarked for it and whether it wants to remain in Latvia and Estonia at all.”