Comments on media reports
Late Thursday, 14 March 2019, Swedbank received information from Swedish Television’s TV program Uppdrag granskning. The analysis that Uppdrag granskning refers to is the initial report that Swedbank made last autumn, based on transactions between customers in Swedbank and customers in Danske Bank. Based on that report, additional activities have since been made.
Swedbank takes its responsibilities to prevent and detect money laundering very seriously. In 2018, Swedbank on its own initiative in response to public information regarding Danske Bank made an analysis of payments between customers in Danske Bank and Swedbank. In the analysis, Swedbank looked at payments made during 2007-2015.
- As we have repeated many times, we act on different signals. Therefore, it was natural for us to act when the disclosures about Danske Bank came out on the market. That was the background to our analysis, says Birgitte Bonnesen, President and CEO of Swedbank.
With 900,000 private and 130,000 corporate customers, Swedbank is the leading bank in the Estonian market. Last year, in 2018, Swedbank's Estonian customers made millions of transactions every day. On average, we received about 80 warning signs daily. We did an in-depth analysis of those transactions. This, in turn, led to about four notifications per day to the Estonian finance police.
- We are a bank for the many households and corporates, but unfortunately, criminals try to use the financial system. For us, it is important that the criminals feel that it is not worthwhile to make a crime in Swedbank, continues Birgitte Bonnesen.
Analyses of transactions begin with the bank seeing if there are any deviating customer behaviours. This assessment is made on the basis of, among other things, the information that the customers themselves have stated to the bank. Ultimately, this process can lead to the bank reporting the customer to the finance police.
- In the analysis last year, we looked at both current and former customers in the Baltic countries. Following the result of the first review, we proceeded with an in-depth analysis of approximately 2,000 customers throughout the Baltic countries. This should be related to the 3.3 million private and 300,000 corporate customers we have in the Baltic countries. In many cases, there was no need to act further, but in some cases we proceeded with, among other things reports to the finance police, continues Birgitte Bonnesen.
Uppdrag granskning refers to some figures referring to payments that supposedly have gone between customers in Danske Bank and customers in Swedbank during ten years’ time. This are in fact gross figures in the initial analysis. The numbers mentioned by Uppdrag granskning can, for example, be related to the figure of SEK 2,000 billion, which has been linked to Danske Bank. In this context, it can be mentioned that Swedbank has a market share of about 60 percent in terms of payments in the Estonian market and is thus a bank that receives payments from all other banks.
After dialogue with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, they have also gained access to the material.
- In the fight against money laundering, all actors in society must act together, concludes Birgitte Bonnesen.
For further information:
Gabriel Francke Rodau, Head of Group Communication, tel: +46 70 144 89 66