Sweden’s financial regulator, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, said it needs to pick up its oversight of Swedish banks when it comes to money laundering.
According to a report in Reuters, Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority Director General Erik Thedeen said while the watchdog has not been too easy when it comes to dealing with banks that enable money laundering, it could do more.
“We have not been too kind,” Thedeen told journalists on the sidelines of a hearing on money laundering in parliament, reported Reuters. “The Financial Supervisory Authority has a lot of power, and that power needs to [be] handled sensibly, and that is what we are doing,” he said. “But we can do more and we will do more, and I think that the full Swedish system must be strengthened.”
The comment comes amid reports that the massive money laundering scandal at Danske Bank has widened to include Swedbank. In February news broke that Estonia’s investigations into money laundering connected some of the suspicious transactions that involved Dankse to Swedbank. A Swedish TV show said last month that it found evidence that 40 billion Swedish crowns ($4.30 billion) were transferred between Danske and Swedbank spanning several years from 2007 to 2015. The TV show contended suspicious transactions by Swedbank customers should have been spotted because they were by companies that didn’t have clear operations, had beneficial owners or were represented by people suspected of being fronts for criminal organizations. “We can confirm that, as the published information relates to Danske Bank, we are checking out the claims as part of our Danske investigation,” Estonia’s state prosecutor’s office said at the time.
Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen said she is confident the bank’s systems did their job and reporting any suspicious transactions. She did acknowledge mishaps may have happened. “Was there any risk that a payment in 2007 slipped through? Yes, there is a risk,” she said, according to reports at the time.