May 8, 2019 / 1:21 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Nordea risk management head Galbo resigns

(Adds Nordea spokeswoman, Galbo comments)

HELSINKI, May 8 (Reuters) - Nordea’s head of business risk management Julie Galbo is to leave at the end of May and will immediately step down from its management board, the Nordic region’s largest bank said on Wednesday.

A bank spokesman in Helsinki said Galbo’s departure was not connected to the bank’s handling of anti money-laundering measures, for which Galbo had oversight and responsibility. A spokeswoman for Nordea in Denmark said Galbo had resigned.

Last week Nordea made a 95 million euro ($106 million) provision for a possible fine related to alleged money-laundering. This follows a Russian-linked scandal stemming from the Baltics which has shaken fellow Nordic banks Danske and Swedbank.

The 48-year-old Dane joined Nordea’s asset management team in 2014 and was Chief Risk Officer and Head of Group Risk Management and Control from 2017 to 2018 before assuming her current role in January.

During her tenure, the bank said Galbo led the merging of Nordea’s four banking units into one entity and played an “instrumental” role in its domicile move to Finland from Sweden.

She has also been Nordea’s public face for dealing with money laundering scandals, fielding questions when the Panama Papers tax scandal broke and appearing in the Danish Parliament when questions were asked about the bank and money laundering.

“I have been very, very focused on Nordea for the past five years so now I have to breathe, and then I have to start doing something else, and what it exactly will be is too early to say anything about,” Galbo told Danish newspaper Borsen.

Galbo declined Reuters’ request for an interview.

Between 2010 and 2014, Galbo held the role of Deputy Director General of the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, the regulator overseeing Danske Bank, which said last year some 200 billion euros of suspicious money flowed through its Estonian unit between 2007 and 2015.

A media report in March alleged that Nordea handled 700 million euros in suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2017. Nordea said then that the allegations were covered in past reports and that it was working with authorities.

Nordea is the subject of an ongoing investigation by Danish police, while Finland and Norway have not yet decided whether to proceed with criminal complaints that anti-money laundering activist Bill Browder filed against the bank.

Nordea said that Erik Ekman, its head of commercial and business banking, would take on Galbo’s role on an interim basis and that it had begun the search for a permanent replacement.

$1 = 0.8929 euros Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Helsinki and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter

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