UPDATE 1-U.S. embassy in Sweden asks financial watchdog for meeting on Swedbank


FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Swedbank branch in Riga October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The U.S. embassy in Sweden has asked the domestic watchdog FI for a meeting to discuss allegations of Swedbank’s involvement in a Baltic money-laundering scandal, raising concerns that U.S. authorities might be mulling a probe of the Nordic bank.

A FI spokesman said on Thursday it had received a letter on Feb. 27 from the U.S. embassy asking to discuss Swedbank in relation to the money laundering allegations, and that the body was “taking care of the matter according to our routines”.

The news heightened concerns that U.S. authorities could potentially look into Swedbank after allegations in a media report that at least 40 billion Swedish crowns ($4.34 billion) transferred between Swedbank and Danske Bank accounts between 2007 and 2015 could be laundered money.

Sweden’s and Estonia’s financial watchdogs opened a joint investigation following the report.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) are already running parallel probes into Danske over some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) in payments from Russia, ex-Soviet states and elsewhere that flowed through its Estonian branch.

Swedish daily Dagens Industri, which first reported on the U.S. embassy letter, quoted it as saying that the meeting was for a briefing on Swedbank and the watchdog’s actions, but the FI spokesman declined to comment.

Reuters could not immediately get hold of the letter outside of regular business hours. The U.S. embassy in Stockholm declined to comment, while Swedbank, the SEC and DoJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.



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