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Sweden fines bank for not properly fighting money laundering

June 25, 2020 GMT

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A big Scandinavian bank has been fined for not taking strong enough action to reduce the risk of money laundering. The fine comes after several banks in the region were caught handling dirty money flowing mainly through units in the Baltic states.

Sweden’s financial supervisory authority said Thursday it had imposed a fine of 1 billion kronor ($150 million) on Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB, known as SEB, for “deficiencies in identifying and managing the risk of money laundering” at its its Baltic subsidiaries.

The agency’s investigation covered the period from 2015 to the start of 2019.

Several Nordic banks have been found to have handled dirty money, largely through subsidiaries in the Baltic countries that they had acquired in previous years.

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Among the biggest is Denmark’s Danske Bank, which has admitted to massive money laundering at its Estonian subsidiary. An internal investigation found that some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) that had flowed through the bank’s accounts from 2007 to 2015 was suspicious in nature.

Last year, Swedish authorities launched an investigation into Swedbank, another Swedish bank with links to the Danske Bank case.

The probe will look at whether 15 of Swedbank’s largest shareholders received information that the bank was connected to the money laundering scandal before a TV report last week broke the news.

Swedish broadcaster SVT reported that Swedbank customers had been able to funnel at least 40 billion kronor ($6.1 billion) between Swedbank and Danske Bank in Estonia.