SEB, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB, the leading Nordic corporate bank, is currently being investigated by 5 news organizations. The bank then admitted that clients with low transparency funnelled billions of euros in 3 branches of the Baltic area.
Low transparency in banking means that very few details are allowed to be provided during transactions and any other necessary processes to the authorized organizations involved in the legalities. This attracts individuals and groups involved in crime to store their ill-gotten wealth.
Approximately 25.8 billion euros were funneled through the said bank, mostly being transacted in Estonia, between 2005 to 2018 according to the bank. In their statement, they pointed out that the transactions done are not meeting the standard of today’s reliable business transaction.
Johan Torgeby, president of SEB, stated in a press release that they want to remain being open and now they have presented in detail their previous data for the Baltic branches. He also stated that they have been insightful to indications of foul play which also be leading to, when need, have to take action. He assured that they have not perceived SEB being utilized for money laundering in a methodical manner, basing on the comprehensive analysis they made with their business in the Baltics. He added that all banks are, at any moment, exposed to the risks involving financial crime.
The 5 news organizations are from SVT (Sveriges Television AB), TT News (TT Nyhetsbyrån), Re:Baltica (The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism), Postimees of Estonia and YLE of Finland. They used the data of OCCRP and discovered that the statements SEB made, prior to Torgeby’s announcement, may be not exactly factual about avoiding money laundering.
OCCRP’s data are obtained through the leak form Lithunia’s Ukio bank. It displays SEB clients’ several cases that can be a fitting illustration of a dubious financial activity. This has led to boosting up the investigation where the findings raised doubt about the bank’s authenticity.
President Johan Torgeby had spoken last October 2018 that their internal reviews, tracing back to 2008, did not notice any warnings and cautions in Estonia. 194 were non-resident customers in SEB’s Baltic divisions and had completed 2000 transactions from 2005 to 2017, according to the analysis of the journalists investigating. The amount allotted for the operation volume of investigation is said to be $280 million.
Out of all the clients analyzed, according to correspondents of SVT and TT, 130 had major warnings for money laundering possibilities. However, based on the data gathered, only 2 clients appeared to be legitimate companies.
A high-ranking executive from Russia, Andrey Kozlov, had visited to Estonia in 2006. He had warned the authorities of Estonia about the threat of money laundering their 2 banks, including Ühispank which is as of now, part of SEB. This case solidifies SVT’s story.
Unfortunately, Kozlov was shot dead not before long after his trip to Estonia. This may be for the actions made in stripping the license of another Russian financial establishment involved in money laundering allegedly.
As of SEB’s present announcement, the price of the bank’s share went down by 12.3 percent.