29 Apr 2019 09:06

Comment on report about anti-money laundering deficiencies

On Monday, Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, published an article that criticises SEB's work against money laundering. The article is based on preliminary assessments in a verification letter from an ongoing investigation, which was later concluded in November 2017 without penalty. Here are SEB's comments:

The work against financial crime has the highest priority for SEB.

If one breaks out individual sentences from a verification letter, the whole purpose of which is to be a reconciliation in an ongoing investigation, they may seem dramatic. However, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority's letter in December 2016 and its preliminary assessments do not reflect the Authority's final assessment.

The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority concluded this supervisory matter in November 2017 without sanction, but with a final assessment that provides a number of recommendations regarding areas for improvement.

It is wrong to say that SEB had systematic deficiencies in the protection against money laundering. The newspaper refers to an individual sentence in a preliminary assessment linked to customer knowledge for a small selection of customers during an ongoing supervision. In the Authority's final assessment, the sentence about systematic shortcomings was removed.

Following the verificationletter in December 2016, SEB supplemented with further information, had several meetings with the Authority and explained parts that were misunderstood. This also led to the Authority changing many of its initial assessments.

Within SEB, we always work in full transparency with our supervisory authorities. Our attitude is always to be open and transparent so that we live up to the regulatory requirements. SEB welcomes a review of our operations from both the authorities and the media. However, we are serious about the fact that information about our customers leaks out of documents from the supervisory authority.

SEB works purposefully and continuously to improve our ability to know our customers, detect suspicious payments and report to the authorities.