Sweden’s Oldest Bank (Not Bitcoin) Under Criminal Probe for Mega Fraud, Chairman Quits, CEO Fired
The shakeup at Sweden’s oldest bank, Swedbank AB, continues.
Amid allegations of a multi-billion-dollar money laundering scheme, Lars Idermark, Swedbank’s chairman, has announced his resignation. Last week, Swedbank fired its chief executive officer, Birgitte Bonnesen, who is accused of looking the other way as the bank allegedly laundered billions of dollars from Russia.
Swedbank is Sweden’s biggest mortgage lender. It is currently under investigation by the financial supervisory authorities of Sweden and Estonia, and the New York Department of Financial Services as money laundering networks involving big banks in Europe hit a fever pitch.
In a statement issued by the bank, Idermark says he is stepping down immediately, reports Reuters.
“Following recent strong debate about Swedbank and questions about the bank’s control of suspicious money laundering in the Baltics, I have concluded that the media attention is not compatible with my CEO role at Sodra.”
“Therefore, I have decided that the best alternative is to leave the position as Chair of Swedbank with immediate effect.”
Swedbank’s shady activities appear to be connected to the multi-billion-dollar money-laundering operation at Danske Bank, which was kept alive by the US unit of Deutsche Bank. The web of conspirators has led to a mountain of potential lawsuits.
Danske Bank admitted last year that roughly $225 billion in dirty money had flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.
According to Swedish broadcaster SVT as much as $100 billion may have flowed through Swedbank’s non-resident accounts in Estonia between 2010 and 2016.
The “Troika Laundromat” scandal, which involves billions in dirty money from Russia, has spread across Europe and the US, implicating trusted executives at financial institutions and unveiling a deep and vast network of allegedly complicit banks. In addition to Swedbank, Danske Bank and Deutsche Bank, the accused network reportedly includes ING, Raiffeisen Bank International, Nordea Bank and Ukio Bank.
Swedbank is also under investigation by Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority for gross fraud and for making misleading statements to the public. Its Stockholm headquarters were raided on March 27 after failing to cooperate with investigators. Prosecutor Thomas Langrot now holds sealed documents. According to Bloomberg,
“A sealed envelope reported to contain sensitive information and criticism of Swedbank AB has become the centerpiece in the unfolding scandal involving billions of dollars of cash flowing out of Russia through Estonia.”
As banking crimes repeatedly arise, they make the case for rebuilding the entire global financial system using blockchain-based infrastructure and digital assets to support traceability of transactions and full transparency.
Swedbank was founded in 1820.