Ex-CEO of Swedish bank to face trial over money-laundering scandal

Ex-CEO of Swedish bank to face trial over money-laundering scandal
Former Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen, here pictured in 2019, denies the allegations. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
The sacked CEO of Swedish banking giant Swedbank is set to face trial on fraud and market manipulation charges.

Birgitte Bonnesen was fired in 2019 following allegations that the bank engaged in money-laundering in the Baltic state of Estonia.

Authorities believe Bonnesen attempted to cover up money-laundering by the bank in Sweden by diffusing “intentionally or by aggravated negligence (…) false information about the bank’s measures to prevent, detect, block and signal suspicions about money-laundering in (its) operations,” the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Thomas Langrot, said in a statement.

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In 2019, a documentary made by an investigative news programme for Swedish broadcaster SVT alleged that at least 40 billion kronor ($4.4 billion) of suspicious transactions had been channelled to Baltic countries from Swedbank accounts.

Bonnesen’s position as Swedbank’s chief executive became untenable following the allegations and she was fired.

Sweden’s financial regulator the following year fined the bank some 360 million euros and warned it to follow anti-money-laundering laws.

Bonnesen’s lawyer said she denies all of the charges against her.

The aggravated fraud charge carries a jail term of up to six years.

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