Security & Fraud

Appeal Over Swedbank Money Laundering Complaint Is Denied In Sweden

Swedbank

The appeal of an investor who campaigns against corruption in the banking industry was rejected by Sweden on Wednesday (May 15), according to a report by Reuters.

Bill Browder asked authorities to follow up on a complaint that alleged Swedbank accounts were used to launder money, but the Economic Crime Authority (EBM) said his appeal was rejected.

Browder filed the complaint in March, and it was dismissed a month later. Part of the reasoning for the original rejection was that the transfers in question happened before more stringent money laundering rules were put in place — in 2014 — and the statute of limitations in the case had passed.

Browder appealed to the EBM, but to no avail.

“It is correct that the EBM has decided not to change that decision,” a spokesman for the EBM said.

Both the CEO and chairman of Swedbank have left in the face of the allegations. Browder has taken complaints against the bank to multiple agencies, including authorities in Estonia and Latvia. He alleges that the accounts were used to launder $176 million between the years of 2006 to 2012.

Swedbank has also been linked to a scandal at Danske Bank, which faces its own troubles, including potential fines, lawsuits and sanctions over $225 billion in suspicious payments that flowed through its Estonian branch in 2007 and 2015.

Last month, it was announced that Swedbank is facing an investigation by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), which alerted Swedbank in a letter in February that it was looking into seven different cases at the bank.

The letter stated that it has engaged in several inquiries related to Swedbank and its ties to money laundering scandals, including those at Danske Bank, Latvia’s ABLV, Cyprus’ FBME Bank and Lithuania’s Ukio Bank. It is also looking at its ties to Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers.

“From our review of the production, it appears that this response may be incomplete, as it does not appear to apply to ‘the global operations of Swedbank,’ and instead excludes responsive information relating to parents, subsidiaries or other affiliates of Swedbank,” stated the letter, which was signed by DFS Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement Megan Prendergast Millard.

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