Nordea has announced that it has completed the internal inquiry it opened in the aftermath of the so-called Panama Papers, a leak of over 11 million sensitive financial documents from a law firm based in Panama.
Casper von Koskull, the chief executive at the provider of financial services, says he is disappointed with the shortcomings detected in the implementation of the operating principles of Nordea. “This cannot be tolerated. The shortcomings in our operations are primarily related to administrative routines and supervision. I am nonetheless pleased that the inquiry found no evidence that the employees of Nordea had actively facilitated tax evasion,” he says in a press release.
Nordea has according to the leaked documents established over 400 shell companies for its customers in Panama and the Virgin Islands through its division in Luxembourg.
- Nordea wants nothing to do with tax avoidance, says CEO (08 April, 2016)
- Stubb calls for patience in wake of Panama Papers leak (07 April, 2016)
- Nordea comes under criticism for alleged ties to tax havens (05 April, 2016)
Von Koskull reiterates that the provider of financial services will not tolerate being used as an instrument in tax evasion or aggressive tax planning.
“Nordea is the largest bank in the Nordics, and it has a special obligation to be a good corporate citizen. Tax-paying is an obligation, and it is of utmost social importance that companies and private citizens comply with regulations related to taxation,” he adds.
The shortcomings detected in the internal inquiry include insufficient documentation and non-compliance with internal guidelines. Documentation pertaining to the know your customer procedure, for example, did not meet the standards set forth in the operating principles in the case of several high-risk customers, the press release indicates.
The operating principles were violated also in seven cases related to the renewals of letters of attorney.
The cases, however, are unlikely to meet the criteria for illegal activity as the employees neither clearly benefited nor were unlawfully rewarded for their negligence, according to Nordea.
Von Koskull says he has launched a number of initiatives in response to the findings.
“Nordea's operating principles and strategies will be developed by a committee focused on ethics and values to ensure they correspond with both our Nordic values and the views of our stakeholders on how a responsible bank should operate,” he states.
The operating guidelines will also be revised to ensure they are as unambiguous as possible. “The entire group must have a cohesive understanding of issues related to compliance with laws and regulations and must systematically comply with the operating principles,” says von Koskull.
“We have also established a tax committee that will comment on complex tax issues at the group level and ensure the group's decisions on tax issues are cohesive.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi