28 Apr 2016 08:42

Comment on alleged activity in tax havens

Today there are media reports claiming that SEB has contributed to tax schemes using offshore companies arranged by former subsidiary LWM. Finnish public service broadcaster YLE gives a completely false picture of this activity and Swedish media refer to YLE's report.

LWM was owned by SEB between 1999 and 2014, and carried out administrative services for businesses, such as accounting, bookkeeping, contact with authorities, etc. During SEB's time as owner, the vast majority (90 per cent) of the 350 companies that LWM administered were domiciled in Europe. A few companies were domiciled in so-called offshore countries. LWM's customers sometimes chose SEB for their banking relationship, but in many cases used another bank.

SEB sold LWM in 2014.

How SEB is working to ensure tax transparency

Our view as a bank is that companies and private customers should do the right thing and pay taxes according to the laws and regulations where they operate. We do not give advice to our customers that help them hide money from authorities. To be a client of SEB, you must be open about your finances. We need to understand our customers' business and they must be able to answer relevant questions. Otherwise we end the relationship. 

LWM stood (and stands) under the supervision of the Financial Supervisory Authority in Luxembourg. Since LWM started almost 20 years ago, society and values have ​​changed. The demands are growing for transparency between countries, companies and authorities. Paying taxes in the country in which you operate is an important part of being a sustainable business.