November 26, 2019 / 6:25 PM / 16 days ago

SEB flags multibillion euro Estonian non-resident business

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s SEB (SEBa.ST) said on Tuesday it had processed close to 26 billion euros ($28.66 billion) from non-resident Estonian customers between 2005-2018 that would not meet the bank’s current standards of transparency.

Fears that SEB could be dragged into a dirty money scandal that has rocked Nordic rivals Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) and Swedbank (SWEDa.ST) sent SEB shares plunging 13% on November 15 after SEB said it had been contacted regarding money-laundering by public broadcaster SVT’s investigative news program “Uppdrag Granskning”.

SEB CEO Johan Torgeby said in a statement on Tuesday: “In the comprehensive analysis that we have made of our business in the Baltics, we have not seen that SEB has been used for money laundering in a systematic way.”

“Still, at any given time, all banks are subjected to the risks that financial crime entail.”

SEB’s statement said the bank had handled transactions of 84.6 billion euros from non-resident clients in Estonia between 2005-2018. It said that of that total, 25.8 billion euros were from “low transparency” customers.

Last week, SEB had received a list of 194 of corporate clients from SVT a day before the broadcast of its program investigating money-laundering in the Baltics.

SEB has said customer relationships had been terminated with about 95% of clients whose names were supplied by SVT, and that the bank had reported any suspect activities to financial police.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Colm Fulton. Editing by Jane Merriman

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