Sweden’s five largest banks have formalised an information sharing pact with the country’s police force aimed at cracking down on money laundering.Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank last June commenced a pilot project of the Swedish Anti Money Laundering Initiative (Samlit), collectively sharing information on methods, suspicious transaction patterns and new types of crime that have been jointly identified.
The banks says the pilot phase has had “promising results” and in co-operation with the police are to develop a more formal framework for collaboration and governance in the coming months.
Samlit will also promote legislative and regulative changes to improve the possibility of information sharing and will strive towards an increased number of participating banks to increase the efficiency of the co-operation.
Linda H Staaf, head of the Swedish Police Authority’s Intelligence Unit at the National Operations Department says the collaborative effort has helped identify indivduals involved in organised crime.
“The co-operation between the banks and the Police Authority has provided us with more information which increases our ability to prevent serious crimes such as shootings and explosions,” she says. “The information enables us to interrupt and to aggravate individuals who are guilty of serious criminal activities.”
Swedbank, which last year was fined a record $385 million over breaches in its anti-money laundering work, is positive that the initiative will help to strengthen bank defences.
”We have for quite some time advocated an increased exchange of information between banks and with authorities in order to further strengthen our capabilities to combat and prevent money laundering and other financial crime,” says Anders Ekedahl, head of anti-financial crime at Swedbank. “Samlit is a very promising initiative and we look forward to continuing to develop the collaboration which will be of great benefit to society.”