Danske Bank: “If we’re going down, you’re coming with us.”
First Post in a Two-Post Series
On March 19, 2020, Swedbank received the first of what will likely be multiple sanctions regarding alleged deficiencies in its Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) processes and mishandling of information exchanges with public investigations. At the conclusion of parallel investigations by Swedish and Estonian authorities, Swedbank AB must now pay a record 4 billion Swedish Krona ($38 million) and its subsidiary, Swedbank AS, has been ordered to improve its AML risk control systems to comply with the applicable requirements. These penalties are all prelude to the ongoing investigations by the Latvian Police Department, European Central Bank, Swedish Economic Crime Authority, several United States authorities and, presumably, the inevitable private securities litigation to come.
In this post, we will discuss the various public AML-related investigations and enforcement actions plaguing Swedbank. In our next post, we will discuss the details and implications of the report of internal investigation regarding these problems performed by an outside law firm at the request of Swedbank, which has made the report publicly available. The bigger picture: the saga of Swedbank is just part of the larger and seemingly non-stop AML debacle centered around Danske Bank and its now-notorious Estonian Branch.