US Federal authorities are investigating whether SEB AB, Swedbank AB and Danske Bank A/S failed to properly comply with anti-money-laundering regulations, Dagens Industri newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Shares in Nordic banks dropped as much as 9 percent, after the publication of reports alleging they kept doing business with customers they suspected of money laundering and other wrongdoings.
The three banks said the report contained no new information as many lenders have long been under scrutiny in the US. In addition to federal prosecutors at the Justice Department and the FBI, the New York attorney general’s office and intelligence committees are investigating allegations of money laundering and fraud.
Sweden’s oldest retail bank, Swedbank, saw its share price collapse by 30 percent in 2019 after details of the dirty money scandal emerged. Additionally, the case engulfed Nordic corporate bank AB and Danish peer Danske Bank, forcing these banks to fire their chief executives and much of their boards.
Moreover, Sweden’s financial watchdog hit Swedbank with a record fine of $386 million for serious AML deficiencies and withholding information from authorities.
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US authorities have been probing local ties to a money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest lender, as they joined global regulators in their investigation over the $230 billion that washed through a tiny Estonian branch.
Deutsche Bank Fined $150M over Relationship with Danske
Accused by European authorities of a large-scale money laundering scheme, Copenhagen-based lender’s Estonian had facilitated suspicious transactions by a foreign customer who was secretly representing Russia’s intelligence service, FSB, and family of Vladimir Putin.
In July, the New York State regulator ordered Germany’s biggest lender to pay $150 million for significant compliance failures, including suspicious transactions by an accused child sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein.
Despite the late billionaire’s troubled history, Deutsche Bank’s private banking division allowed Epstein to move money out of the United States. The regulator said it overlooked suspicious transactions, including payments to Russian models and $800,000 in cash withdrawals.
In addition, the regulator faulted Deutsche Bank over ties to the money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank. Deutsche Bank reportedly played the largest role in helping the Danish firm purify its allegedly ill-gotten gains.