The Strategist

Estonia suspects Swedbank branch of money laundering

10/30/2019 - 05:13

The Estonian Prosecutor’s Office and the Central Criminal Police are investigating the case of the Estonian branch of the Swedish bank Swedbank, Postimees newspaper writes .

The case of alleged money laundering and the provision of false data to financial supervisors in 2011-2017 was opened in July, but this only became known today, the newspaper notes.

According to the information available at this stage, Estonia could be used as a transit state in the money laundering scheme.

According to State Prosecutor Sigrid Nurm, the investigation is being conducted both at the interstate and at the domestic level. "Until that time, the investigating authorities worked with mass data, sent applications for legal aid to other countries and worked closely with the financial inspection," said Nurm. At this stage of the investigation, no charges have been brought against anyone.

On June 17, Swedbank announced that in connection with an internal investigation on money laundering suspicions, the powers of Swedbank Eesti CEO Robert Kitt and financial director Vaiko Tammevälä were suspended. It was also announced that Priit Perens would leave the bank and its board.

The bank operations are also being investigated in the United States, where Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas is currently on a visit. The issue of money laundering will be one of the topics of negotiations, the press service of the Estonian government said.