The president of Swedbank, Lars Idermark, resigned on Friday "with immediate effect". Thus the head of the board of directors of the largest mortgage bank in Sweden for its participation in the Danske case of money laundering, one of the most talked about European banking scandals of the last decades. The resignation comes three days after the Finantsinspektioon – the Financial Supervision Authority of Estonia – started a registration on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Swedish bank in Tallinn.
With 7.3 million private customers and 600,000 corporate customers – most of them in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries – Swedbank was denounced by Swedish public television SVT for having allowed 50 customers transact up to 40,000 million Swedish crowns (3,779 million euros) between 2007 and 2015 towards accounts of the Estonian subsidiary of the Danish bank Danske Bank. Last September, the director of Danske Thomas Borgen submitted his resignation for a millionaire money laundering scandal in his Estonian subsidiary – transactions worth 150,000 million euros – which according to a report by the bank itself, would have come mainly from Russia , Moldova and Azerbaijan, and includes money flows from relatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The resignation of Idemark comes a week after the board of directors decided to dismiss its then CEO, Birgitte Bonnensen, despite having ratified her in office six days earlier. In the position since 2016, Idemark has ensured that «media attention is not compatible with my position as CEO in Södra (forest consortium)». The Scandinavian entity – that last year an operating profit of 26,552 million kronor (2,550 million euros) – has appointed the current vice president, Ulrika Francke, as the new board chair of Swedbank.
Last week, agents of the Swedish Economic Crimes Authority conducted a search at the headquarters of Swedbank in Stockholm, after which they decided to accuse the entity of having committed fraud by insider trading and serious fraud in relation to with the sale of securities by large shareholders days before the news revelations were disseminated. Swedbank is now facing a joint investigation by the financial supervisors of Estonia and Sweden. The Danske Bank, meanwhile, is being investigated by the regulators of Denmark and Estonia, as well as by the Department of Justice of the United States and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the North American country.
It is estimated that the Danish bank helped process payments worth 150,000 million euros, in some operations in which they would be involved, among others and in addition to the Swedish bank, the German Deutsche Bank and the Americans JPMorgan and Bank of America. The Finantsinspektsioon has already banned Danske from operating in the Baltic country so the Danish bank will have to leave the country before the end of the year.