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Swedish PM vows sector-wide scrutiny after money laundering allegations

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Stefan Lfven
Europe   Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lfven

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lfven said that his government will take a hard look at the nations financial sector in the wake of allegations that one of Swedens largest banks may have been used for money laundering of billions of kronor.

In an interview with news agency TT, Lfven said stricter legislation on Swedens banking sector may be necessary.

The Swedish and Estonian FSAs have a well-established, close cooperation to coordinate the supervision of the Estonian subsidiaries as well as the Swedish parent and the group as a whole.

The Estonian and Swedish FSAs have agreed to initiate a joint investigation with the purpose of closely examining the information reported by SVT. The Latvian FSA and the Bank of Lithuania has also agreed to participate in the investigation with whatever assistance that might be needed by the Swedish and Estonian authorities.

If these latest developments are true and these failures can be attributed to Swedbank, then it is of course completely unacceptable, Lfven said.

The PM was reacting to the fallout from an SVT documentary alleging that Swedbank may have been used for extensive money laundering over a 12-year period, including transactions linked to the scandal-hit Danske Bank.

Sweden`s Financial Supervisory Authority (FI) has launched an investigation into what it called the very serious allegations against the lender.

Lfven said that if the money laundering allegations are proven true, it would undermine confidence in the whole system.

"In our society, trust is the alpha and the omega. If people find out that the banks are engaging in this type of business then trust is undermined," he said.

When asked by TT if the Swedbank scandal is an indication that there needs to be more stringent governmental action to to combat money laundering the PM answered in the affirmative.

"Yes, we need this. The banking sector as a whole needs scrutiny because we cannot tolerate this as a society," Lfven said. More legislation can definitely be necessary.

According to the SVT programme, 50 customers who exhibited "clear warning signals" that they may be involved in money laundering transferred around 40 billion kronor ($4.3 billion) between Swedbank and Danske Bank.

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