Swedbank, one of Sweden’s four biggest banks, has become the latest financial institution to be embroiled in the ongoing money-laundering scandal that has engulfed Denmark’s Danske Bank since early last year.
Danske is under investigation by the US, EU, and UK authorities after a series of investigation revealed that the bank laundered €200 billion from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan through its Estonian branch from 2007-2015.
Danske Bank’s illicit activities were first brought to the public’s attention in 2014 when Estonia’s Financial Supervision Authority found large-scale, long-lasting systemic violations of anti-money laundering rules. Tallinn’s regulatory agency later ruled in February 2019 that Danske Bank would have to cease its operations in the country within 8 months after the lender came under investigation by the United States Department of Justice, Britain’s National Crime Agency, the Financial Supervisory Authority of Denmark, and France’s financial services watchdog.
According to a report by Swedish Television’s investigative programme Uppdrag Granskning evidence now suggests that a total of €3.7 billion (SEK 40 bn) were funnelled to Danske Bank through Swedbank.
Accounts with Sweden’s Nordea and Danske Bank were involved in the transfer of just under €1 billion (7 DKK 7bn) to tax havens around the world, via shell companies across Europe. The transactions included at least 50 unknown Swedbank customers according to the latest reports.
Danish daily Berlingske recently reported that a total of at least €18 billion was laundered between 2011 and 2014, with the money-trail leading to organised criminal networks in Russia and other former Soviet republics, including two banks in Moldova and Latvia. A total of 14 judges have already been arrested in Moldova in connection with the investigation, Berlingske reports.