Browder Files Criminal Complaint Against Swedbank in Estonia
(Bloomberg) -- Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management filed a criminal complaint against Swedbank AB with Estonian prosecutors and financial police, after failing to convince Swedish authorities to pursue a case.
Overlapping in part with Hermitage’s filing in Sweden last month, the complaint claims transactions in Estonia totaling about $117 million and connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky were done through accounts at the Stockholm-based bank’s unit in the Baltic country.
“Recent reports suggest that Swedbank employees knew about these as early as 2013 and kept them open,” Browder said in an email. “We are hoping that a criminal investigation will determine the legal liability of employees and management of Swedbank in this alleged money laundering scheme.”
Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority earlier this week said it wouldn’t start an investigation into Browder’s allegations of money laundering at Swedbank from 2006 to 2012, saying the transactions happened too long ago for it to be able to pursue criminal charges. Browder has appealed the decision and had said he’ll file similar complaints in Baltic countries.
Estonia’s State Prosecutors Office spokeswoman Olja Kivistik, speaking by phone, confirmed receipt of the complaint, dated April 2. The office will decide on further steps within 10 days, she said.
Browder has also filed complaints against Danske Bank A/S, which is being investigated in the U.S. for its role at the center of a $230 billion laundering scandal stemming from its Estonian branch. He’s chasing all banks he says played a part in enabling a $230 million tax-fraud scheme that Magnitsky had been investigating when he was put into a Russian prison where he died in 2009.
For More: Swedbank Hit by Credit Warnings as Dirty Money Scandal Grows
Regulators in Sweden and Estonia are investigating Swedbank following media reports linking it to the Danske case. Some $103 million were transfered to Swedbank from accounts at Ukio Bank in Lithuania, with the remainder coming from Danske’s Tallinn branch, according to Browder’s filing.
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