Former Swedbank CEO charged with fraud related to bank's Estonia operations

Swedbank signage in Tallinn.
Swedbank signage in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A former Swedbank CEO has been charged in Sweden with fraud, market manipulation and disclosing inside information without authorization, in respect of the bank's operations in Estonia, UK daily The Guardian reports.

The former CEO, Birgitte Bonnesen, had been misleading in her statements to the effect that Swedbank Estonia had no money laundering control issues, at a time when around €37 billion in potentially illicit funds had passed through the bank's portals, 2014-2019, according to The Guardian.

Bonnesen was fired in March 2019.

Chief prosecutor Thomas Langrot, heading up the investigation into Swedbank's Estonian arm, stated that Bonnesen had either intentionally or negligently covered up the true situation with the bank's anti-money laundering (AML) measures, despite having access to information both about serious shortcomings in the systems and concerns over some of the bank's customers and their transactions.

Langrot said he would prosecute on gross fraud, primarily, also following up suspected gross market manipulation, while Swedbank, along with Danske Bank, us under civil and criminal investigation in the U.S. over money laundering concerns.

While the Tallinn branch of Danske was forced to close in 2019 after revelations that in excess of €200 billion in potentially laundered funds had passed through the bank over the period 2007-2015, Swedbank remains in operation in Estonia and is the largest high street bank by market share.

Danske's then-CEO, Thomas Borgen, a Norwegian national, resigned in September 2018.

The original Guardian article is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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