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Kilvar Kessler Foto Finantsinspektsioon

Estonia asks Swedbank to stay

While Danske Bank was kicked out by Estonia’s supervisor authority for its extensive Baltic money laundry revealed last year, Swedbank is being kindly asked to remain.

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”If nowadays, due to circumstances, Swedish banks see the Baltics as a liability, not as an asset, of course it’s a problem for the Baltics,” says Kilvar Kessler, chairman of Estonia’s Financial Supervisory Authority, in a Bloomberg article. In Sweden, the news was soon picked up by Dagens Industri.

Has 40 percent of Estonia’s lending

Involvement by Swedbank in the laundry scheme associated with Danske Bank was recently revealed by Sweden’s public tv broadcaster SVT.

Swedish banks Swedbank and SEB are market leaders in terms of lending in the three Baltic nations, together standing for 66 percent in Estonia, 57 percent in Lithuania and 45 percent in Latvia. In Estonia, Swedbank alone stands for 40 percent of the lending.

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While Swedbank and SEB both confirm continued commitment to staying in the Baltic regions, Kilvar Kessler still refers to the hypothetical threat of their market exit as ”our ultimate concern”.

Claims things have changed

Danske Bank has been kicked out by Estonian authorities following its involvement in the $230 billion scandal, and also Nordea is leaving the Baltic region, which has been considered exposed to dirty money.

Kilvar Kessler talks about his country’s exposure to large-scale money laundring schemes as belonging to history. Occasional things could still pop up, he says to Bloomberg, but claims that it would not be ”on scale with the past”.

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