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Swedbank says won't be drawn into Baltic money laundering scandal

TALLINN – Swedbank, the biggest bank operating in the Baltic region, is confident it won't be drawn into the money laundering scandals that have tainted some of its peers, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Swedbank told Bloomberg that its focus on domestic customers over the years has protected it from the kind of illicit flows that allegedly gushed through Danske Bank's business in Tallinn and, to a lesser extent, into Nordea Bank, according to filings with Nordic prosecutors.

Birgitte Bonnesen, Swedbank's chief executive officer, says the sources of potentially suspicious flows linked to other banks have no ties to her bank.

"None of the names that have been out there have ever been customers of Swedbank, former or now," she said on a conference call on Tuesday after the bank reported third-quarter results. "But the most important thing I can tell you is that we run a retail bank in Baltic countries."

In addition to claims of money laundering at the Estonian branch of Danske, manager of the investment fund Hermitage Capital and Kremlin critic Bill Browder has leveled an accusation of money laundering in the amount of up to 405 million U.S. dollars against Nordea Bank. According to Browder, the money moved into Nordea via the Estonian branch of Danske and Ukio Bank of Lithuania.

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