Swedbank announced that it has suspended the CEO and CFO of its Estonian branch after an investigation into compliance with money-laundering rules at the bank.
Sweden’s oldest bank has been linked to the money laundering scandal at Danske Bank, which said its Estonia branch was used to move 200 billion euros of suspicious funds between 2007 and 2015. Swedbank then admitted in April that it had failed to prevent the laundering and announced an internal investigation.
As a result, Robert Kitt, current chair of the management board and CEO of Swedbank Estonia, and Vaiko Tammeväli, current CFO and management board member of Swedbank Estonia, are both leaving their positions in the management board and are being suspended until further notice. In addition, council member Priit Perens is no longer employed at the bank and has left the council.
“Today’s decision is a consequence of the ongoing internal investigation. We are fully committed to the Estonian market and to all our employees, customers and other stakeholders. Estonia is one of four home markets of Swedbank. We will continue developing Estonian’s leading bank with society and customers in focus,” Charlotte Elsnitz, head of Baltic banking, Swedbank, and chair of the council of Swedbank AS, Estonia, said in a press release.
The changes will take immediate effect, with the council electing Olavi Lepp, currently chief risk officer, as acting chairman of the management board and acting CEO of Swedbank Estonia, and Anna Kõuts, currently head of treasury, as acting CFO and acting member of the management board.
“As previously communicated, Swedbank has initiated an in-depth internal investigation with the help of external resources to investigate historical AML compliance and Swedbank will continuously act upon the conclusions of the investigations. In addition, Swedbank is fully cooperating with the authorities in Sweden, the U.S. and the Baltic countries in their respective investigations,” added Elsnitz.