IMF to put Nordic banks’ AML controls under microscope
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is planning to examine anti-money laundering (AML) measures by Nordic banks and regulators.
Sweden’s central bank announced this week that the watchdog would be taking a close look at operations into the Nordics following a series of alleged failures.
Danske Bank was embroiled in a $200 billion money laundering scandal last year which saw ex-staff members of its Estonian branch arrested and a bevvy of other regional banks, including UBS and Deutsche Bank, dragged into the mire.
Sweden’s central bank governor Stefan Ingves says that there have been “discussions for a while” about having an external body investigate how banks in the region handle their money laundering controls.
According to Ingves, the framing of the investigation is well underway and the IMF would begin its work during the first half of 2020.
Authorities are already investigating whether Swedbank and SEB locations in the Baltic region have been used to launder money.
Swedbank executives were fired in October for perceived failings in controlling AML procedures in Estonia. Former Estonia chief executive Robert Kitt, who had been suspended since June, was let go.
Kitt had at one point been considered as a replacement for Ardo Hansson, the governor of Estonia’s central bank.
Vaiko Tammevali, chief financial officer at Swedbank in Estonia before being suspended in June, also lost his job, alongside Kaie Metsla, head of the bank’s private customer division.
A liquidation committee is said to be managing what is left of Danske Bank’s Estonian division, while its corporate loan portfolio is being moved to Lithuania prior to being wound down.