Sweden fines Nordea for lax money laundering controls

STOCKHOLM, April 16 Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:02am EDT

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STOCKHOLM, April 16 (Reuters) - Sweden's financial watchdog said on Tuesday it was fining Nordic bank Nordea 30 million crowns ($4.7 million) for inadequate controls to prevent money laundering.

The Financial Supervisory Authority said Nordea failed to screen individuals in compliance with European Union regulations for several years and had not properly reported activity in frozen accounts.

"Nordea has been deficient in its handling of the EU sanctions regulations and in its work to prevent money laundering," the Financial Supervisory Authority said in a statement.

"Due to the serious nature of the deficiencies, which in some cases have existed for a long period of time, the bank is receiving a remark and an administrative fine of 30 million crowns."

The FSA said Nordea was also deficient in its risk assessment regarding one customer from Gibraltar.

"The bank has not performed sufficient customer due diligence," it said of that case.

Nordea said in a statement it would adjust its processes to ensure that it meets the watchdog's requirements.

"Nordea finds the penalty large since no prohibited transactions whatsoever have been made on the frozen accounts scrutinised by the SFSA," the bank said.

Britain's Standard Chartered was fined $340 million in September by a New York regulator for illegally hiding transactions with Iran, while HSBC also agreed last December to pay $1.92 billion to settle the investigation by U.S. prosecutors who accused HSBC of failing to enforce rules to prevent money laundering.

($1 = 6.3791 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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