Swedish, Baltic financial watchdogs to strengthen fight on money laundering

Hundreds of millions of euros and dollars alike are implicated in anti-money laundering schemes of growing scope. Source: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters/Scanpix

The financial supervision authorities of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have launched a joint investigation into suspected money laundering in the Baltic subsidiaries of several Swedish banks, and the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) of Sweden is strengthening its supervision capacity with regard to anti-money laundering measures.

The four countries' FSAs will jointly determine the focus and extent of the investigation, including the companies and period of time to be probed.

Swedish FSA Director General Erik Thedéen said that the banks' management and boards of directors have to take money laundering matters seriously and ensure that compliance with the laws and regulations is group-wide.

"This is the banks' responsibility," Mr Thedéen said in a press release. "[The Swedish FSA] is responsible for checking that the banks have established systems and procedures to prevent them from being used for money laundering."

Sweden's financial watchdog also agrees with its counterparts in the Nordic and Baltic countries that ongoing work has to be strengthened significantly.

The former is to arrange a meeting in the near future to include the top-ranking individuals of the Nordic and Baltic countries' respective FSAs. The intention is to establish closer strategic and operational collaboration for enhancing anti-money laundering efforts within the region's financial sector through more coordinated supervision.

The Swedish FSA also decided to request from the state an additional 10 million Swedish Kronas (some €940,000) per year from 2020 onward for the strengthening of anti-money laundering supervision.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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