Swedish Regulator Investigating SEB Over AML Issues 

SEB bank Sweden

A Swedish regulator has opened an investigation into SEB, one of Sweden’s largest banks, over an increasingly volatile money-laundering scandal that has adversely affected the reputation of the region’s banking industry, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The probe is being done by the Swedish financial supervisory authority, and on Wednesday (Dec. 18), the organization said it was looking into how the bank handled money laundering monitoring and how strong its anti-money laundering (AML) measures actually were. 

The investigation is being done in conjunction with regulators in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and the report should be done by April.

The Swedish regulator is running a similar investigation into Swedbank, in which punishments, if any, are expected to be doled out by March. Most of the investigation involves the past 15 years, and activities in the Baltic region. The most visible and affected bank so far has been Danske Bank, when an investigation showed that €200 billion in suspicious money had moved through an Estonian branch for more than 10 years. That branch has since been closed.

Swedbank and Danske both got rid of the CEOs in charge at the time, as well as some chairmen and managers. Stock prices have also been adversely affected.

SEB has yet to jettison any of its top executives, and so far its stock price has remained steady. However, Wednesday saw a dip of 6 percent at open, before recovering two points.

The bank found itself in the crosshairs of regulators after it was accused of money laundering by public broadcaster SVT. 

“Although SEB historically has lived up to the regulatory requirements, we can with today’s knowledge conclude that neither regulations nor the banking system’s ability have been sufficiently efficient to handle risks of money laundering before 2008,” the bank said last month.

It also said its measures had “increased over time.”