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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swedbank Operations Curbed

MTSome of the bank's operations in Russia will be curtailed for three months.
The Central Bank has restricted the operations of the Russian subsidiary of Swedbank, saying the unit lacked sufficient internal controls, the Swedish financial group said Thursday.

Swedbank said in a statement that authorities had cited violations of federal law and the Central Bank's money-laundering rules after an audit conducted in March and April.

Swedbank Russia has a portfolio of about 4 billion Swedish crowns ($579.3 million) and 238 employees at its three branches in the country.

The restrictions, which mainly concern correspondent banking as well as foreign exchange operations, interbank loans and attracting new business, would run for three months.

"The order was unexpected and we are, of course, ready to take necessary measures," Swedbank CEO Jan Liden said in a statement. "We are currently establishing further circumstances and have also requested clarifications."

Russian authorities requested that Swedbank make adjustments to its operations in the country and "enhance internal control systems."

Erkki Raasuke, head of Baltic banking at Swedbank, declined to give any further details on the situation, saying only that Swedbank was in contact with the Central Bank.

"There can be very different technical interpretations which are currently [at] work," he added.

Swedbank has sought to expand out of its home market, eyeing growth opportunities in Russia. The lender plans to have 1 million Russian customers in the next four to six years, it has said.

Reuters, Bloomberg