Prosecutor's Office has not launched investigation into SEB

Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern.
Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern. Source: Marko Tooming/ERR

The Prosecutor's Office has not launched an investigation into the actions of SEB Pank, spokespeople for the Office of the Prosecutor General said on Wednesday.

Chief State Prosecutor Taavi Pern told BNS that if, in collaboration with the Financial Supervision Authority (FSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit, information is received regarding potential criminal offenses committed at SEB Pank, the Prosecutor's Office would launch a criminal investigation immediately.

"Similarly, we cooperated with the FSA and the Financial Intelligence Unit this July when an investigation concerning suspicions of money laundering at Swedbank was launched," he recalled.

In response to interest by Swedish media, SEB Group on Tuesday evening published historical transaction data for Estonia for 2005-2018, from which it appears that €25.8 billion worth of funds of "low-transparency customers" moved via the Estonian branch of the bank during the period in question.

SEB Group said in a press release Tuesday evening that the category "low-transparency customers" consists of customers whose historical payment flows in large part do not meet current standards regarding transparency or linkage to authentic business activity. Approximately 95 percent of these historical low-transparency flows stemmed from Estonia.

"These flows cannot be equated to confirmed money laundering activities, but there is a rather increased risk for money laundering here," SEB explained.

Silver Vohu, chief of communications and marketing at SEB Estonia, told BNS that the information published by its parent bank illustrates the depth of scrutiny that the bank has conducted of historical transaction flows in light of present-day knowledge.

According to SEB, the comprehensive review covers the bank's customers, processes, risk culture, systems and transaction volumes during the period 2008-2018, and the bank's statements are based on these reviews. This review is part of the basis for the investigation conducted by Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority in collaboration with its Baltic counterparts.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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