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SHARES

Sweden earns $3.4 billion in Nordea share sale

Sweden said Wednesday it had sold its remaining 7-percent share in the country's largest bank, Nordea, for 21.6 billion kronor ($3.4 billion) with the proceeds being used to reduce public debt.

Sweden earns $3.4 billion in Nordea share sale

The sale means the government will have completely abandoned its role as a shareholder in Nordea. It is also one of the final chapters in a massive restructuring of Sweden’s banking sector set in motion in the early 1990s when the nation was hit by a severe financial crisis.

“The role of the government is to regulate banks, not to own them,” said Peter Norman, minister for financial markets, in a statement.

“Therefore, it’s the government’s objective to sell off all the rest of its shares in the bank.”

“The sale is aimed at Swedish and international institutional investors,” the statement said, without giving more detail.

The government said that it would use the proceeds of the sale to reduce public debt.

Swedish business daily Dagens Industri said that “everyone comes out a winner from the sale” — from the government, which can offset its budget deficit, to the bank itself, which now has just one major shareholder, Finnish life insurance group Sampo.

Nordea was nationalized in 1992 when the state took over several struggling

banks, but since 1995 the state has gradually reduced its involvement in the

bank.

The 284 million government shares have a combined value of 22.5 billion Swedish kronor ($3.5 billion), based on the current market value.

In June, the government sold off 6.4 percent of the shares in Nordea for a total of €2.3 billion.

Nordea shares dropped by 3-percent Wednesday when the Stockholm Stock

Exchange opened, but recovered some ground in the late morning.

AFP/The Local/og

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BANK

Police to investigate Nordea bank over money laundering

Danish police will investigate the Swedish bank Nordea after a year-long probe by regulators into money laundering led to "criticism" of its procedures, the bank said Friday.

Police to investigate Nordea bank over money laundering
Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT

Detectives will examine how money laundering rules were followed at the bank's Danish subsidiary and could result in “sanctions”, Nordea said in a statement.

“We realize that we initially underestimated the complexity and the time it takes to change our procedures,” said Nordea chief executive Casper von Koskull.

The bank added that 850 Nordea employees are currently involved in the fight against money laundering which the bank plans to increase to 1,150 by the end of the year.

In May 2015 the bank was fined 50 million kronor (€5.4 million euros) – the maximum possible – by Swedish regulators who accused Nordea of “not following money laundering rules for several years” and failing to “evaluate the risks of (doing business with) certain clients”.