Swedbank suspends Estonian heads in Danske Bank probe

The suspensions are aimed at helping Swedbank with discussions with authorities in the ongoing Danske Bank probe.

In a significant development, Swedbank has suspended, with immediate effect, the two most senior executives at its Estonian business, which is being investigated over alleged money laundering.

The development comes in the wake of Swedbank parting ways with its CEO and chairman earlier this year over alleged links to a money laundering scandal at Danske Bank.

The Danske Bank money laundering scandal is being investigated in the United States, Sweden and in the Baltics.

The latest allegations, reported by Swedish state TV in March, disclosed that Swedbank processed gross transactions of up to 20 billion euros a year from high-risk individuals – mostly Russian non-resident clients, through Estonia from 2010 to 2016.

Robert Kitt, who has been its CEO at Estonia since 2015, and Vaiko Tammevali, Estonia CFO since 2014, have both been suspended, said Swedbank in a statement.

“(The) decision is a consequence of the ongoing internal investigation,” said Charlotte Elsnitz, Swedbank’s head of Baltic Banking.

Elsnitz however declined to provide any details of the reason for the suspensions but stated Swedbank remained committed to Estonia.

Swedbank is the largest bank in Estonia where it enjoys more than 900,000 private and 132,000 business customers.

According to analysts at Credit Suisse, the suspensions could help Swedbank with in any discussions with the authorities.

Estonia’s financial regulator declined comment while stating their investigation with Sweden and other Baltic authorities was ongoing and that Swedbank was fully cooperating with authorities.

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