Nordea Bank Fined for TeliaSonera-related dealings

Published: 20 April 2013


The Nordic region's biggest bank, Nordea, received a $4.7 million fine Tuesday from Sweden's financial watchdog agency for breaching money laundering rules, according to a statement from the agency's website.

Nordea came under scrutiny for its relationship to the TeliaSonera scandal. The Swedish communications giant stands accused of bribery and money laundering for its business deals with Uzbekistan's ruling family.

In 2007, looking to expand its mobile phone business in Uzbekistan, TeliaSonera bought the 3G licenses it needed for only $320 from the Gibraltar-registered Uzbek company Takilant. Since only the government can legally issue those licenses, and the head of Takilant is a close friend and associate of Uzbekistan's ruling family, that payment is now suspected to have been a bribe that was laundered through Takilant before it made its way into the ruling family's pockets.

After those charges first surfaced, Nordea accepted an almost $31 million deposit in 2011 by Uzbekistan nationals into an account represented by Takilant's head, Gayane Avakyan.

Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority said that the bank "has been deficient in its internal governance and control with regard to the EU sanctions regulations (and)  has exposed itself to the risk of giving blacklisted individuals access to funds and economic resources without the bank´s knowledge."