Swedbank's headquarters in Sundbyberg, Stockholm, Wednesday March 27, 2019. The headquarters of one of Sweden's largest banks are being raided by authorities as part of an investigation into whether Swedbank was connected to a massive money laundering scandal in the Baltic countries. (Anders Wiklund/TT via AP)

Another Nordic bank CEO falls over money laundering scandal

March 28, 2019 - 3:04 am

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The chief executive of one of Sweden's largest banks was fired Thursday in the wake of allegations that the bank was connected to a massive money laundering scandal in the Baltic countries. It is the second major Nordic bank CEO to fall over the scandal in four months.

Swedbank Chairman Lars Idermark said that the CEO, Birgitte Bonnesen, was fired by the board after "developments during the past days (that) have created an enormous pressure for the bank."

Idermark said that CFO Anders Karlsson was named as acting chief executive.

The decision came a day after Sweden's Economic Crime Authority raided the banks' headquarters. Prosecutors are investigating whether 15 of Swedbank's largest shareholders illegally received information about the bank's connection to the money laundering scandal before the issue was made public by a Swedish television report last month.

U.S. authorities are also investigating Swedbank over the alleged dirty money flows.

The Stockholm stock exchange suspended trading in Swedbank shares until further notice.

Bonnesen is the second top executive to fall over money laundering cases involving Scandinavian banks and their branches in the Baltic countries.

In December, the chief executive of Danske Bank, Thomas Borgen, resigned after an internal investigation found that some 200 billion euros ($225 billion) flowing through the bank's Estonian subsidiary from 2007 to 2015 was suspicious. Reports alleged that some of the money flows were from family members of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The findings prompted Denmark's financial regulator to reopen a probe and Danish prosecutors have started a criminal investigation.

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