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Swedish FSA head concedes regulator's shortcomings in tackling money laundering

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority's Director General Erik Thedéen admitted that the regulator has not done enough to tackle money laundering, following recent claims against Nordic banks over their alleged involvement in the Danske Bank A/S scandal, Reuters reported.

Thedéen, who was speaking to reporters after testifying in a closed hearing arranged by the Swedish Parliament's finance committee, called for an overhaul of "the whole Swedish system," and said he will redirect the FSA's resources and request additional funds to strengthen the authority's oversight.

Thedéen said Sweden's financial watchdog will work closely with its Estonian counterpart, and do more than just exchange information.

The Nordic and Baltic regions have been subject to a money laundering scandal over recent months, first involving Danske Bank and its branch in Estonia. In February, Swedish broadcaster SVT reported that some 50 Swedbank AB (publ) customers, who allegedly exhibited signs of suspected money laundering, shifted about 40 billion kronor between the lender and Danske. One month later, Finnish media claimed that Nordea Bank Abp handled about €700 million in suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2017.

Meanwhile, the Swedish finance ministry proposed that the country's tax authority be allocated more power to probe suspected money laundering cases, Reuters reported separately. The new rules would come into effect July 1, if approved by the Swedish Parliament.

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said the tax regulator should be allowed to carry out independent intelligence efforts on such matters, since money laundering cases are often closely linked to tax offences.