March 11, 2020 / 8:05 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Swedbank says transactions totalling $4.8 mln may constitute AML sanctions

(Adds CEO, more detail)

STOCKHOLM, March 11 (Reuters) - Swedbank said on Wednesday the investigation of its work on anti-money laundering by law firm Clifford Chance had found that transactions totalling around $4.8 million constitute potential sanction violations.

The Swedish lender said it would report the findings to the U.S Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“This shows that the bank’s process for Know Your Customer, transaction monitoring and internal governance and control have had shortcomings,” Swedbank CEO Jens Henriksson said in a statement.

Swedbank is under investigation from authorities in the United States, Sweden and Estonia for its role in a Baltic money laundering scandal. The outcome of the Swedish case, including any fines, will be announced in March, the country’s financial watchdog said in December.

The law firm looked at activities from 2007 to March 2019.

The bank said it found 586 transactions which could lead to potential OFAC violations, 95% of which it processed between 2015 and 2016.

508 of these transactions were either salary payments or payments associated with the operation of a vessel whose owner was located in Crimea, an area subject to U.S sanctions, the bank said.

“At the same time, it is some relief that it regards a relatively low amount and transactions such as salary payments,” Henriksson added.

Swedbank is alleged to have processed suspect gross transactions of up to 20 billion euros ($22 billion) a year from mostly Russian non-residents through Estonia from 2010 to 2016.

Reporting by Colm Fulton, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Louise Heavens

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