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Nordic giant bank, state owned Nordea accused on helping African dictatorship

Tuesday, 17 September 2013
The Nordic regions biggest bank and part state owned, Nordea has been accused of assisting an African dictatorship transfer and hide wealth in their bank branches.

Reports from Swedish news sources talk of Nordea allowing Eritrean government to use a Swedish common banking payment system called plus giro to collect taxes from their system, something the UN believes is illegal. The regime is also said to be linked according to a new report, to both terror related activities and arms trafficking.

According to the news report in which the Swedish news agency TT said many of its sources indicate that the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm have used a specific plus giro based in Nordea for many years and at least as late as last spring.Nordea

Recently, a United Nations report pointed to the Eritrean dictatorship to have a clear ties with al-Qaida-linked terror organisation, Al-Shabaab and also that the country has been dealing in arms trafficking, in violation of a UN resolution.

Nordea is expected to work with "great integrity and high ethical awareness. We also take strong measures to fight crime," the bank's Code of Conduct said.
This spring, however, the bank was fined Skr30 million because the Swedish  FSA found that, contrary to the law, the bank could not answer whether many of its customers contributed to financially to terrorist organisations or were dealing with money laundering. The information now raises new questions about Nordea's risk assessment policy.

A search at Nordea plusgiro account ownership system  shows that the Eritrean embassy had six such accounts, including that which the Swedish-Eritrean have been complaining and reported about. Those who talked however have failed to give their identities for fear of reprisals either here or on their families back home. That is the price one is expected to pay when they criticise and expose a dictatorship in the west these days.

Nordea is said to have reacted to the allegation by remaining mute but reports suggest that the usage of the account by the Eritrean authorities has apparently been persisting unperturbed.

"We can not and will not comment on any business with a potential customers we have. We comply with the laws and regulations arising from EU directives in the field and acts in accordance with the terms the sanction of the UN and the EU demands, "the press secretary Erik Durhan said according to media reports.

The Financial Supervisory Authority (FI) may not, prior to any decision, say if it will take any action on individual cases in relations to Nordea and Eritrean embassy. Head of Unit, Per Wenna pointed out that, despite UN sanctions against Eritrea, there is no absolute prohibition against doing business with private companies or individuals.

"By contrast, money laundering regulatory requirements is to counter the risk that activaties used for money laundering or terrorist financing, "he says.
The Swedish FSA is reviewing right now the biggest Swedish banks and their handling in high-risk conditions relating to money laundering and terrorism financing.
By Scancomark.com Team

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