The Scandinavian banks have been caught up in a money laundering scandal. Unnecessarily so, according to Neo4j’s founder.
Earlier this month Nordea became the latest Scandinavian bank that was swept up in an ever-expanding Russian money-laundering scandal. The bank, which has recently moved to Finland, handled €700m in suspicious money flows from Russia and other former Soviet states, according to a Finnish broadcast and a Danish newspaper report, sending Nordea shares sharply lower.
A few weeks before, another bank Swedbank lost a fifth of its value after Swedish TV alleged $5.8bn had moved between Swedbank and Danske accounts with some of its customers showing “several risk indicators of suspected money laundering”.
According to Neo4j, a number of large banks use the company’s graph databases today.
But the problem is that the services are not being used in all areas where it could be adding value — with few using it to combat money laundering.
“Since Panama Papers, we have been adopted by many banks to deal with tax evasion, but when it comes to credit risk and money laundering, it is a completely different story,” says Eifrém.
In Scandinavia, there are a number of financial organisations using Neo4j, although Eifrém is not allowed to say which ones. The only bank that has agreed to be named is the Brazilian lender Itaú Unibanco.“All I am allowed to say is that this bank uses us for fraud detection,” Eifrém says.
When asked for comment Nordea, one of the banks investigated for suspicious money flows, said that it had significantly strengthened the monitoring capabilities through investment in additional employees, technology and more sophisticated assessment techniques.