Neil Williams of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli says the challenge is a large one.
The new CEO at Swedbank has made resolving problems caused by its money laundering scandal a priority.
Swedbank has lost a third of its value since February, when reports first surfaced of its Estonian operation moving €135 billion of high-risk non-resident assets over more than 10 years. But in his first month as CEO Jens Henriksson has made it clear that while resolving what he called a "dark cloud'' is important the scandal is not a threat to the 200-year-old bank's existence.
Henriksson said that he has met with US authorities and discussed the matter with heads of other banks that are being investigated for money laundering. Denmark's biggest lender Danske Bank is being investigated over money laundering at its Estonian branch.
Swedbank hopes to have implemented 70 measures to prevent financial crime by the end of the year. Its €93 million internal investigation should be finished early next year, which the bank intends to make public.
With Nordic corporate institutions, on a country-by-country basis, regularly featuring high up on the lists of organisations displaying the greatest transparency, the issues surrounding Danske Bank and now Swedbank will dent confidence in an area of finance that has traditionally been perceived as being almost immune from scandal.
Much will need to be done to both regain and retain the trust of legitimate investors. With regulators and investigating agencies worldwide taking a much more detailed look at the policies of banks which previously seemed to be beyond suspicion, the challenge facing Swedbank is a significant one.
Its new CEO is keen to be as open and transparent about the past as he possibly can. The impact of its past problems on its long-term future remains to be seen.
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