Nordic Regulators Propose Bigger Fines, Prison in Response to Money-Laundering Scandal

(Bloomberg) -- Hit by a money-laundering scandal involving their biggest banks, Nordic policy makers are stepping up the region’s defenses. Here is a list of actions and proposals made by governments and financial watchdogs across the Nordic countries.

Denmark

Denmark has said it wants to implement some of Europe’s toughest anti-money laundering rules. Since the Danske Bank A/S scandal erupted last year, the country has raised fines eight-fold and added the prospect of prison sentences to the list of penalties executives may face. The Financial Supervisory Authority has also received additional resources to cope with the burden of handling the Danske case, and the government has signaled more measures will follow.

Sweden

The biggest Nordic economy in 2017 introduced stricter money-laundering legislation, with much higher potential fines, and politicians have said that those rules may be strengthened further in the wake of the latest money-laundering allegations against Swedish banks. On Wednesday, the Financial Supervisory Authority said it will also call for greater cooperation among regulators, and that it will re-allocate resources to step up its capacity.

Read More: Swedish FSA to Strengthen International Laundering Cooperation

Members of the parliament’s finance committee have called for meetings with the banks and have also met with the FSA to get to the bottom of the scandal. The FSA, meanwhile, has started an investigation into the allegations against Swedbank together with its Estonian counterpart and with the help of the other Baltic FSAs.

Finland

Finland, where the biggest Nordic lender Nordea Bank Abp is now based, has proposed a law that would allow the police and the tax authority to access citizens’ account information through an electronic database to better investigate dubious transfers. The law, under debate in parliament, includes regulation of virtual currencies. The government’s 2019 budget also allocated additional funds to boosting laundering controls.

The Finnish financial regulator said it plans to take a tougher stance on money laundering breaches, implying it may consider fines instead of recommendations in the future. The watchdog also set up an 11-strong task force that allows more FSA inspections and the creation of more detailed risk profiles.

Norway

Norway last year tightened its money-laundering legislation to include virtual currencies and closer scrutiny of foreign payment providers. The rules were put in place to harmonize with new European Union rules and recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force.

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