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2019-04-25 07:00

Swedbank establishes a dedicated Anti-Financial Crime unit and makes changes in Group Executive Committee

Swedbank’s acting President and CEO Anders Karlsson has, based on an initiative from the Board of Directors, decided to set up an Anti-Financial Crime unit (AFC) within the bank, which will bring together technology and investigative resources and competence connected to financial crime.

Organisational changes to strengthen AML capabilities
The Anti-Financial Crime unit (AFC) will focus on anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorism financing (CTF), fraud prevention, cyber security, information security and physical security. The unit will be headed by Anders Ekedahl, who will have the overall group responsibility for AML processes in Swedbank. In addition to its primary focus, AFC will coordinate internal and external investigations within the AML area, which includes cooperating with authorities. This part of the AFC work will be led by the current Head of Group Compliance, Cecilia Hernqvist. Anders Karlsson has appointed Ingrid Harbo as acting Head of Compliance.

”By forming the AFC, we are creating a strong unit focusing on different aspects of financial crime. The unit will have the overall responsibility for the bank’s AML processes including framework and processes for KYC, risk classification, transaction monitoring and reporting to authorities. We are now gathering all relevant resources and competences in the bank to make sure that we secure robust capabilities and we will continue to invest in this area”, says Anders Karlsson.

Following these changes, Anders Karlsson has appointed Tarmo Pajumets as acting Head of Group IT and the Board of Directors has appointed Anders Erlandsson as acting Chief Audit Executive. Anders Ekedahl and Tarmo Pajumets will both report to the CEO and be members of the Group Executive Committee. Ingrid Harbo will report to the CEO and is co-opted to the Group Executive Committee. All changes will take effect immediately.

Investigations regarding AML practices
Swedbank is cooperating fully with the authorities in Sweden, the Baltics and the United States that are conducting investigations regarding historical AML compliance. In this work, Swedbank has appointed external advisors including the international law firm Clifford Chance, which is leading the ongoing internal investigation. In their work, Clifford Chance has appointed the international consultancy firm FTI to support them with forensic expertise.

The internal investigation will include, among other things, a review of the bank's current and historical customer relationships in its Baltic subsidiaries, the preliminary findings from prior internal reviews, the bank's response to recommendations made by prior internal reviews as well as the bank's AML compliance and governance processes. The internal investigation will also incorporate the work conducted by Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA), which is focused on the persons and companies connected to the so-called 50 list.

Clifford Chance is also supporting the bank in communications with U.S. authorities.

The Swedbank Board has appointed external advisors
Following recent reports and ongoing investigations, the confidence in Swedbank and its compliance capabilities needs to be restored. The Board of Directors has therefore taken the decision to appoint the attorney Biörn Riese as an external legal advisor to support the Board of Directors in the ongoing investigation and the work going forward. Since there already are several internal and external ongoing investigations, the Board of Directors will at this point of time not initiate any additional investigations. Moreover, the Board of Directors has appointed the communication advisor Kreab to support the Board of Directors and the CEO in the work with restoring confidence in the bank.

Additional information
Please refer to the CEO comment in the quarterly report.

For further information:
Gabriel Francke Rodau, Head of Group Communication, Swedbank, tel +46 70 144 89 66
Gregori Karamouzis, Head of Investor Relations, Swedbank, tel +46 727 40 63 38