No stranger to insider-trader probes and shortcomings in its anti-money laundering efforts, Swedbank now faces a fresh investigation, this one by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (SFSA).
In a statement Friday, Swedbank said the SFSA has notified the bank of an investigation for “suspected breaches” of the Market Abuse Act. The probe concerns the period Sept. 20, 2018, until Feb. 20, 2019, and “pertains to disclosure of insider information and the obligation to establish an insider list (Articles 17 and 18) in connection with the disclosure of suspected money laundering within the company,” the bank said.
The SFSA (“Finansinspektionen” or “FI”, in Swedish) confirmed the news. “FI normally does not comment on ongoing investigations and, therefore, will not comment further on the matter at this time,” the authority stated.
Swedbank said it is “assisting the SFSA in its investigation.”
Swedbank’s troubles continue
It has been a tumultuous year for Swedbank concerning investigations into money laundering and insider trading. In March, the bank was issued a record 4 billion Swedish Krona (U.S. $390 million) administrative fine for what Sweden’s financial watchdog called “serious deficiencies in its management of the risk of money laundering in its Baltic operations.”
That conclusion was drawn from parallel investigations conducted by the Swedish FI and Estonian FI into parent company Swedbank AB and its subsidiary bank Swedbank AS in Estonia regarding both banks’ AML practices. The investigation into Swedbank AB’s governance of AML measures in its Baltic operations was opened in April 2019 and covered the period of 2015 through the first quarter of 2019.
Additionally in March, Swedbank announced the disclosure of approximately $4.8 million worth of transactions that might be subject to U.S. sanctions to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control following an internal investigation.
Swedbank’s troubles have led to several management changes, as well. In March the bank appointed Rolf Marquardt as chief risk officer. In 2019, its board of directors had dismissed Chief Executive Officer Birgitte Bonnesen amid allegations the bank was used to launder billions of dollars out of Russia under her watch. That same year, the bank appointed Ingrid Harbo as chief compliance officer.