Other banks, who have been intermediaries for the payments, have perceived them as suspects.

The transactions have been reported to the US Financial Police.

In several cases, Swedish-Finnish Nordea is one of several banks in a payment chain.

Most cash flows took place in 2013–2017, according to Yle.

Warning flags

The suspicion reports show several warning flags:

  • Mailbox company without visible activity

  • Money to high-risk countries such as tax havens

  • Illogical purposes of the transactions

  • Large, even amounts within a short period of time

Nordea does not always know who the customers are, the leak shows.

A bank should know that.

A suspicion report from Deutsche Bank states that the German bank has asked Nordea who owns its customer Somitekno, a company in the tax haven British Virgin Islands that spills billions.

Nordea replies that "the customer has refused to provide the requested information".

Kazakh businessman behind

Yle's investigation shows that Somitekno is owned by the Kazakh businessman Igor Bidilo, who has made multi-billion deals with Russian state-owned oil companies.

Bidilo has so far not wanted to comment on information in the leak reports.

Nordea replies to Yle that confidentiality applies to both customers and suspicion reports, and that it always cooperates with authorities.

The bank claims to have taken several measures against money laundering since 2015 and does not accept that it takes place.


This is not the first time that Nordea has been accused of not stopping suspected money laundering.

In 2013, it was warned by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FI) and in 2015 Nordea had to pay the then highest possible penalty fee, SEK 50 million.

FI wrote that "anyone who has wanted to launder money or finance terrorism has in all probability been able to do so without Nordea having had the opportunity to discover it".

2016 came the Panama Papers.

Assignment review showed that Nordea had 400 customers in tax havens and had lent SEK 3 billion to another oligarch from Kazakhstan with close ties to the country's dictators.

Another customer was a designated Icelandic arms smuggler.

Footnote: Here you can see graphics of the revelation (External page in English)