FBI keeping an eye on Baltic branches of Swedbank, Danske, SEB

Tallinn skyline.
Tallinn skyline. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

According to Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri, the FBI is keeping an eye on the Scandinavian banks SEB, Swedbank and Danske Bank due to alleged irregularities committed at the Baltic arms of these banks, Norwegian business news portal E24 reports.

Sources known to Dagens Industri have said that US authorities suspect the Baltic branches of the three banks of fraud and money laundering. Simultaneously, the FBI is investigating the financial behavior of the banks' clients.

The shares of all the three banks declined significantly after the article by Dagens Industri was published, with Swedbank shedding over 7 percent, SEB over 5 percent and Danske over 3 percent.

Last summer, the Swedish Ministry of Justice received a request for legal assistance from their US colleagues, from which it appeared that the three banks are being monitored by three federal authorities of the United States. While neither US nor Swedish authorities have offered their comments to Dagens Industri on the latest circumstances to become known, Swedbank's press spokesman for Sweden, Ralf Bagner, told E24 that as is known to the public, their activities are being investigated by the authorities in Denmark, the United States, Estonia and France.

"And just as we have said earlier, we are keeping a close contact with all of them," Bagner said according to remarks published in Norwegian, adding that the outcomes of the dialogues were impossible to predict and that things continued to be unclear. 

It was revealed back in November 2019 that the US authorities are looking into Swedbank possibly having aided in a breach of the sanctions imposed on Russia in that the bank's employee allowed Russian oligarch and former minister Mikhail Abyzov to move 860 million US dollars via 70 offshore accounts connected with Swedbank, E24 said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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