SEB handed one billion kronor fine over failures to fight money laundering

One of Sweden's big four banks, SEB, was handed a billion kronor fine for its role in a major money laundering scandal involving multiple Nordic banks.

SEB handed one billion kronor fine over failures to fight money laundering
The Stockholm office of SEB, the latest Nordic bank to be fined over a huge money laundering scandal. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman / SvD / TT

Sweden's financial authority Finansinspektionen (FI) said a four-year investigation had shown that SEB's subsidiary banks in the Baltics had been “exposed to an elevated risk of money laundering”.

It said it was fining SEB one billion kronor ($107.2 million or 95.5 million euros) because of the bank's failings in managing the risks.

“Despite the elevated risk of money laundering in the Baltics, the bank has done too little, too late,” FI's director general Erik Thedeen said in a statement. SEB said in a statement it would analyse the decision and then respond.

Money laundering is suspected to have taken place through the Baltic subsidiaries of several Nordic banks.

Denmark's Danske Bank was the first to become ensnared in the scandal and its then chief executive Thomas Borgen resigned in September 2018 after the Danish lender admitted that a large part of transactions worth about $235 billion that had transited its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015 were “suspicious”.

Finnish bank Nordea and Sweden's Swedbank have also been implicated. In March Swedish authorities issued a fine of four billion kronor to Swedbank.

However, with many investors expecting a harsher fine, shares in SEB were
up over four percent in Stockholm after the announcement of the fine. 

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Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.