Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has fined Swedbank a record £305 million for breaching anti-money laundering regulations, including keeping two sets of books.
Having started an investigation into a large number of suspicious transactions, deeper digging by the FSA found the bank had hidden identification details on bank account holders, going so far as keeping separate books on clients – one official, and one ’under the table,’ to help facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.
Its report on Swedbank’s misbehaviour found more than 1,000 clients with Swedbank accounts in the Baltics, but with addresses in high-risk jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands and Belize. When examined closer, the companies registered in such jurisdictions often lacked documentation or annual reports, or had published fake financial statements. Other names found in the client list belonged to well-known high-risk individuals.
Around £4.7 billion had been funnelled between suspected accounts in Swedbank and Danske Bank in the Baltics, the latter already fined large amounts for previous money-laundering activities.