Nordea Bank Accused of Money Laundering After Banning Bitcoin For Being “Too Risky”

The Helsinki-based banking conglomerate, Nordea Bank, has allegedly accepted “criminal funds” from banks in Lithuania and Estonia, as reported by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority.

Tied To The Rest

Supposedly, this money is related to a separate laundering case that involved the Danske Bank in Denmark. Danske, as reported by the Financial Times, is up against fines of up to seven billion euros. Authorities are monitoring the Danske bank after it confessed to a large amount of nearly 200 billion euros being “suspicious.” Publication Al Jazeera claims these illegal transactions took place over the past nine years.

Earlier this year, Nordea bank had prevented all of its staff from purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The group stated that the digital asset was “too risky and [had] the potential to be used in crime.”

SVT, a Swedish public broadcaster, reported on 365 Nordea accounts that allegedly accepted payments of nearly 150 million euros, alongside supposedly false invoices from shell companies. While SVT was the only one with access to the report, it should also be heading to authorities in Finland.

Part of the accepted money came from an Estonian branch of Danske Bank—the same branch mentioned above. Lithuanian-based Ukio Bank is suspected of similar transactions.

Of the 150 million suspicious Euros, a majority of them were allegedly sent to the Denmark branch. However, branches in Sweden, Finland, and Norway are also suspected. SVT reports that the 365 accounts all belong to shell companies. Some of those companies were also accused of getting involved with tax havens, such as in the British Virgin Islands, with banks coherent with Russian money laundering groups.

Revealing The Truth

Swedish news outlet Dagens Industri claims that Russian hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management sent the report over to the Swedish Economic Crime Authority.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported on the incident and received a statement from the Nordea Bank:

“We are aware of the report, and at Nordea we work closely with the relevant authorities in the countries in which we operate, including the Nordic Financial Intelligence Units. In any cases where we deem it to be suspicious transactions, we report it to the authorities for them to take forward.”

It is believed that Bill Browder, owner of Hermitage Capital Management, is involved with the report, as he is believed to have told authorities about the Danske case. Browder has revealed many cases of corruption in Russia and has been named Vladimir Putin’s enemy number one. More than once, Browder had commented on the potential connection between the Danske case and Nordea bank.

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