Ukraine’s Ex-President Yanukovych Laundered Money Through Swedbank

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych, has been linked to a widening scandal involving Sweden’s Swedbank, according to reports by Swedish Television that was broadcast on February 28.

According to documents reviewed by Sweden’s state-owned broadcaster, Swedbank appears to have been an instrument for transferring millions of euros in kickbacks that were acquired by Yanukovych while he was in office to other EU banks.

Over the last year, Swedbank’s CEO has consistently denied any involvement in money-laundering networks, but according to both US prosecutors and EU regulators, the Baltic region is one of the world’s largest money-laundering hubs for criminal networks from the former Soviet Union, particularly those operating out of Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova.

Swedbank is one of Sweden’s four lenders and has been directly linked to a massive international scandal surrounding Denmark’s Danske Bank.

From 2007 to 2015 the Danish lender funnelled €200 billion through its subsidiary in Estonia into accounts in Latvia, Germany, Finland, and Sweden allegedly for clients based in the aforementioned post-Soviet states.

Swedbank was used as a go-between for the laundering of at least €3.7 billion, according to the Swedish Television’s investigative programme Uppdrag Granskning.

Yanukovych is currently living in self-imposed exile in Russia after having been overthrown by the pro-democracy Euromaidan Revolution in February 2014.

In January, Kiev’s Obolon district court found Yanukovych guilty of treason and sentenced him, in absentia, to a 13-year prison sentence for “committing a crime against the foundation of Ukraine’s national security”.

The disgraced former president fled Ukraine days after dozens of people were killed near Kiev’s Independence Square when his security forces attempted to crush a revolution that broke out when Yanukovych opted to abandon a landmark trade deal with the European Union and, instead, pursue closer political and economic integration with Russia.

Source: New Europe