The Prosecutor General will not order criminal investigation into claims on money laundering against Nordea

Published 11.6.2019

The Prosecutor General will not order criminal investigation to be initiated based on Hermitage Capital Management Ltd's request of 22 October 2018.

According to the request, Nordea Bank Plc and certain Finnish companies would have committed aggravated money laundering when Nordea received money transfers to corporate customer accounts from Danske Bank in Estonia and Ukio Bank in Lithuania. It is claimed that the funds received by the Baltic banks had been gained by committing an offence committed in Russia in 2007.

The National Bureau of Investigation has conducted a preliminary inquiry in the case under Criminal Investigation Act. According to the request, allegedly suspicious acts were committed in Estonia and Lithuania, and so Finnish authorities have no jurisdiction in the matter. Also, the money transfers in question were largely made more than ten years ago, so the suspected criminal acts, if any, have also fallen under the statutes of limitation.

In respect to more recent dates given in the request, police have no reason to suspect that Nordea Bank Plc or the account holders would have been aware any suspicious operations in the Baltic countries. The Request for Investigation or attached documents do not reveal facts supporting the claim that when receiving the payments, those acting on behalf of the Finnish seller companies and Nordea Bank Plc did know that the funds in question were gained from aggravated tax fraud or some other offences committed in Russia.

It has also been claimed that Nordea Bank Plc has not complied with provisions on customer diligence of the Act in force in 2009 (Act on Detecting and Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 18.7.2008/503). It is noted in this regard that according to the section 40 in force at the time, maximum punishment for violation of customer due diligence was a fine. In other words, the right to bring charges for these acts became time-barred after two years counted from the time of commission.

On the above grounds, there is no reason to suspect an offence, and the initiation of criminal investigation will not be ordered.

Further information:

State Prosecutor Ritva Sahavirta, the Office of the Prosecutor General, tel. +358 29 562 0842.

The decision (No. 129/42/18) can be ordered from the Office of the Prosecutor General by sending email to vksv(at)oikeus.fi or by calling +358 29 562 0810.

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