Swedish bank Nordea accused of money laundering after Danske Bank scandal

Sweden's financial crime unit said on Wednesday it had received a complaint against Scandinavia's biggest bank, Nordea, for alleged money laundering following on from a massive scandal engulfing Danske Bank.

Swedish bank Nordea accused of money laundering after Danske Bank scandal
Nordea's headquarters in central Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

In a letter addressed to the Swedish authorities, the Hermitage Capital investment fund accused Nordea of fraud and laundering $175 million of dirty money between 2007 and 2013, it said.

Hermitage Capital's American chief executive Bill Browder is a former client of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitski, who died in 2009 in a Russian jail after being denied medical care.

Browder, who alleges that Magnitski was killed, told the business daily Dagens Industri that “since it's not possible to prosecute anybody for the murder in Russia, we're trying to start money laundering cases in the West”.

His fund alleges that large sums originating at Lithuania's Ukio bank and Danske Bank's Estonian subsidiary transited through 365 Nordea accounts in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, and that this was “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Nordea told the TT news agency that it “systematically reports all suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities”.

It is likely that Sweden will task a prosecutor with examining the claim and deciding on whether to launch a investigation.

Browder told AFP earlier this month that “as we peel the onion of money laundering at Danske Bank the story will only get more and more sordid.”

Denmark's biggest bank, Danske Bank, has plunged into a reputational maelstrom whipped up by the alleged laundering of up to 200 billion euros ($235 billion).

The bank's investors and clients have headed for the exits amid growing fears of a possibly huge US fine for laundering funds for 15,000 mainly Russian clients. 

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Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts ‘within weeks’

Some of Britain's biggest banks have begun contacting customers in European Union countries, warning them that their accounts will be closed down within weeks because the cost and complexity of operating without a continuation of pan-European banking rules is too much.

Brits in EU risk losing UK bank accounts 'within weeks'
Lloyds Bank expects to close at least 13,000 accounts. Photo: Lloyds Bank
According to a report in The Times, thousands of Britons who live in Europe face being stripped of their UK bank accounts and credit cards, because of the UK government's failure to agree rules for operating after Brexit. 
Each of the EU's 27 member states has different rules for cross-border bank accounts which will start to apply immediately the UK's transition period ends on 31st December 2020. 
“In some cases, continuing to serve customers would be incredibly complex, extremely expensive and very time-consuming, and simply would not make economic sense,” a source at one British bank told the newspaper. “This is passporting — this is the reality of Brexit.”
If a way is not found to continue pan-European banking rules, or passporting, UK banks will br breaking the law if they don't apply for new banking licenses in each European Union Country. 
Lloyds, Britain’s biggest banking group, began writing to customers in August, warning them that their bank accounts would  close down on December 31.
The bank estimates that 13,000 customers, including those based in Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, would lose their accounts. 
“If customers have regular deposits into, or payments out of, their account, they will need to make other arrangements before their account is closed,” the bank said. 
Barclays and Coutts have also started contacting customers. 
“In light of the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020, we continue to review the services we offer to customers within the European Economic Area (EEA), and any impacted customers will be contacted directly,” Barclays said in a statement. “The timings for account closure will depend on the type of product that a customer holds, but we will always give notice to customers.”
“In the event that no alternative to the European Economic Area passporting regime for financial services is agreed between the UK and EU, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from offering our services to clients who reside in the EEA,” Coutts said.