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Swedbank committee proposes new board members

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Swedbank committee proposes new board members
FILE PHOTO: Swedbank signs are seen on the bank's Latvian head office in Riga, Latvia, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins   -   Copyright  Ints Kalnins(Reuters)
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedbank’s nomination committee proposed two new board members and called for an extraordinary meeting to be held before June 21, as Sweden’s oldest lender tries to recover from a money-laundering scandal in the Baltics.

Swedbank’s reputation has been marred since it was linked to a money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank, which has said that its Estonia branch was used to move some 200 billion euros (173 billion pounds) of suspicious funds between 2007 and 2015.

The Swedbank committee had vowed to strengthen the lender’s board to help it recover from the scandal, which has prompted the departure of its CEO and chairman and caused Swedish, Baltic and U.S. authorities to open investigations.

The committee proposed Bo Magnusson, who currently chairs two Swedish banks, as vice chairman of the board and Josefin Lindstrand, a lawyer with international experience of working on anti-money laundering issues, as a member.

The board, which last month proposed former prime minister Goran Persson as chairman, said interim chair Ulrika Francke and two other board members had declined to be re-elected, meaning that nine names for the board would be put to vote.

“Swedbank is facing many challenges. The nomination committee is convinced that the proposed board of directors can lead to the rebuilding of trust for Swedbank,” committee chairman Lennart Haglund said in a statement.

The most recent allegations, reported by Swedish broadcaster SVT, state that Swedbank processed gross transactions worth up to 20 billion euros a year from high-risk, non-resident clients, mostly Russian, through its Estonian branch from 2010 to 2016.

The lender admitted last month to failings in combating money laundering and announced an internal probe was under way to review its current and historic customer relationships through its Baltic units.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish; editing by Simon Johnson and Jason Neely)

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