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Swedbank Chairman steps down amid attention over money-laundering scandal

Swedbank Chairman steps down amid attention over money-laundering scandal

FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the building of the bank’s Lithuanian headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedbank Chairman Lars Idermark said on Friday he would leave his position at the bank with immediate effect, just a week after Swedbank’s Chief Executive was ousted over her

FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the building of the bank’s Lithuanian headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedbank Chairman Lars Idermark said on Friday he would leave his position at the bank with immediate effect, just a week after Swedbank’s Chief Executive was ousted over her handling of a fast-growing money laundering scandal.

Idermark said in a statement issued by the bank that he was stepping down as the intense attention would affect his role as CEO of forestry group Sodra.

“Following recent strong debate about Swedbank and questions about the bank’s control of suspicious money laundering in the Baltics, I have concluded that the media attention is not compatible with my CEO role at Sodra,” Idermark said.

“Therefore, I have decided that the best alternative is to leave the position as Chair of Swedbank with immediate effect.”

The allegations against Swedbank, largely reported by Swedish TV, have linked it to a scandal at Danske Bank – which faces potential lawsuits, fines and sanctions after admitting last year that some 200 billion euros (171 billion pounds) of suspicious payments had flowed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

Last week, Swedbank fired its CEO Birgitte Bonnesen only an hour before its annual meeting after disgruntled shareholders rounded on her handling of the money laundering allegations.

Swedbank’s current deputy Chairman, Ulrika Francke, will become the new chairman, Swedbank said.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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