Thursday 22 August 2019

Swedbank Chairman steps down amid attention over money-laundering scandal

The headquarters of Swedbank located in Sundbyberg, outside Stockholm. Photo: Getty
The headquarters of Swedbank located in Sundbyberg, outside Stockholm. Photo: Getty

Helena Soderpalm and Johannes Hellstrom

Swedbank Chairman Lars Idermark said on Friday he would leave his position at the bank with immediate effect, just a week after Swedbank's chief executive was ousted over her handling of a fast-growing money laundering scandal.

Idermark said in a statement issued by the bank that he was stepping down as the intense attention would affect his role as CEO of forestry group Sodra.

"Following recent strong debate about Swedbank and questions about the bank’s control of suspicious money laundering in the Baltics, I have concluded that the media attention is not compatible with my CEO role at Sodra," Idermark said.

"Therefore, I have decided that the best alternative is to leave the position as Chair of Swedbank with immediate effect."

The allegations against Swedbank, largely reported by Swedish TV, have linked it to a scandal at Danske Bank - which faces potential lawsuits, fines and sanctions after admitting last year that some €200bn of suspicious payments had flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

Last week, Swedbank fired its CEO Birgitte Bonnesen only an hour before its annual meeting after disgruntled shareholders rounded on her handling of the money laundering allegations.

Swedbank's current deputy Chairman, Ulrika Francke, will become the new chairman, Swedbank said.

Reuters

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