In January this year, Nordea bank banned its 31,000 employees from buying Bitcoin and other cryptos. The bank, which is the largest in the Nordic region, termed Bitcoin as too risky and as having the potential to be used in crime. Nine months later, the bank has been implicated in an alleged money laundering scandal. According to a report by Finnish state-owned YLE publication, the bank has been accused of receiving dirty money from two banks in the Baltic States. This is just after another anti-bitcoin bank, Danske, was nabbed with similar accusations.
Involved In The Same Vice They Accused Bitcoin Of
According to the report by YLE, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority recently received a report alleging that Nordea bank had received criminally-sourced funds from Lithuania and Estonia. YLE further quoted SVT, Sweden’s public broadcaster which alleged that 365 individual accounts at Nordea bank received payments amounting to €150 million.
Most of these payments were allegedly sent to the bank’s Danish arm, with its Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish arms also being mentioned severally in the report. SVT further revealed that the 365 Nordea accounts belonged to shell companies, most of which operate in tax havens and which have connections to Russian money laundering schemes.
The report further connected the Nordea allegations to Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark and yet another anti-bitcoin bank. Danske is currently accused of assisting Russian criminals to launder over $230 billion in what has been described as possibly the biggest ever money-laundering scandal in Europe. The bank is alleged to have used its Estonian branch to launder the money, with the laundered figure being over 10 times the gross domestic product of Estonia.
In January, Nordea bank issued a warning to its 31,000 employees explicitly warning them against buying bitcoin. The bank said I would not force those who already owned bitcoins to sell them, but those who didn’t were prohibited from buying them. Speaking to Reuters in an email, a spokesperson from the bank explained the bank’s decision:
The risks are seen as too high and the protection is insufficient for both the co-workers and the bank
Danske bank had also issued a stern warning to its clients against investing in cryptos. The bank banned cryptos from all its platforms and denied its clients the option to buy financial instruments such as derivatives through cryptos. Danske further voiced its concern that cryptos were being used to launder money and propagate other sorts of financial crime. It stated in a report:
Overall, we are negative towards cryptocurrencies and we strongly recommend that our customers avoid investing in cryptocurrencies.
As fate would have it, the bank is now alleged to have been at the center of one of the world’s biggest money laundering scandals. If found guilty of the crime, Danske could face fines of up to €7 billion, according to The Financial Times. It would also have a far-reaching effect on Denmark’s economy, with the bank holding over a third of Danish people’s savings and could erode their faith in the banking system.