Charges in Sweden’s largest insider scandal

Charges were filed on Friday against six men in what is being called the largest insider trading scandal in Swedish history.

The six men are suspected of having made around 130 million kronor ($16.3 million) through illegal inside deals, according to the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (Ekobrottsmyndigheten – EBM).

“This is Sweden’s largest ever insider trading indictment both in terms of the number of people and the amount of money,” said EBM public prosecutor Stig Åström in a statement.

The indictment comes following a wide-ranging investigation and relies on evidence gathered from telephone wiretaps.

The prime suspects are two men referred to in the Swedish press as the Cevian-man, age 36, and the Nordea-man, age 37.

They are both charged with serious tax crimes and serious insider trading crimes.

According to prosecutors, the Cevian-man failed to declare capital gains worth 17.6 million kronor in 2005, while the Nordea-man failed to report earnings of 28.5 million kronor.

The insider trading crimes result from the fact that, according to the indictment, both men systematically used inside information when trading various financial instruments.

All told, the charges cover 23 deals, including transactions involving Norwegian Visma, Finnish Metso, Volvo, and Telia Sonera.

Time and again, Åström has been forced to ask for more time to carry out his investigation in part because of delays in receiving assistance from legal authorities in other countries.

The trial is likely to start in the summer, two and a half years from when the investigation was first made public.

According to Åström, the indictment is unique in several respects.

“It’s not only that it’s huge and comprehensive. Primarily, it’s the first time a case has been tried in which people, as far as we can tell, consciously sought out inside information and used it systematically,” he told the TT news agency.

“With previous cases in this area, it’s been board members who were informed and then perhaps traded stocks more by mistake. This is something we haven’t seen previously.”


Nordea’s Danish offices raided in money laundering probe

The Nordic region's largest bank Nordea said Monday that Danish prosecutors had raided its offices in Denmark as part of an investigation into money laundering.

Nordea's Danish offices raided in money laundering probe
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime seized physical and digital material — including emails — from the Copenhagen offices on June 12th, reported the Danish business newspaper Børsen, which first broke the story.

The bank confirmed the raid in a statement to AFP, saying it was carried out in relation to a probe into “compliance with anti-money laundering procedures” at its international branch, which was responsible for non-Nordic customers.

“We are fully cooperating with the prosecution service to ensure that they have access to all relevant information,” said Nordea's Danish head Frank Vang-Jensen.

The bank said that in 2014, when it was refocusing its activities on Nordic countries — and away from Baltic states — it evaluated its customers at the international branch and “exited the customers who didn't meet our criteria”.

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority then lodged a money-laundering complaint against Nordea in 2016.

In October last year, Sweden's financial crime unit also received a complaint against Nordea, which moved its Swedish headquarters to Finland later that month for tax reasons.

Nordea has set aside 95 million euros to cover potential first-quarter costs related to the money laundering probes.

The investigation comes as Denmark's largest lender Danske Bank is the target of criminal probes in several countries over some 200 billion euros in transfers that passed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, involving some 15,000 foreign clients.

READ ALSO: Nordea reported to Denmark investigators over money laundering