Danish media has published stories about the management of Nordea in Russia having offshore accounts. As Nordea confirmed to Danish media already in April, members of the Russian management team have such offshore structures. The management of Nordea in Russia, and other employees in Russia with such structures, have reported relevant information to the Russian tax authorities.
Due to bank confidentiality Nordea cannot and are not allowed to comment on specific cases or customers. In connection with the claims of Nordea in the Danish media, we want to make the following clarifications:
• When we start a relationship with a new customer, we conduct a thorough Know-Your-Customer process, which also includes identifying the true beneficial owner of the assets, so that we feel sure that anti-money laundering requirements are met. In addition, we also want to obtain reassurance that customers report their assets to the relevant tax authorities.
• Given that all compliance requirements have been meet, offshore companies are a fully legal method of structuring wealth, which is widely used among affluent Russians, including managers at our bank in Russia. In Russia it is common practice and the Russian tax authorities have standard rules for the procedures regarding taxes.
• The management of Nordea in Russia has disclosed information regarding the cases mentioned in the media to the Russian tax authorities. In addition, Russia is part of the Common Reporting Standard initiative which means that new rules will be implemented as of 1 January 2017 – and all relevant information will then automatically be submitted to all relevant authorities.
• With an offshore company Russian customers can, for instance, obtain a higher degree of flexibility in terms of investing abroad, where the company structure is used to create a more simple legal ownership structure, whether investments are made in properties, companies or securities. Furthermore, offshore companies are widely used in connection with inheritance planning.
• We have already announced that Nordea Luxembourg in cooperation with its customers is unwinding all structures with Mossack Fonseca. The same applies of course to the relevant persons from the Russian management. This decision has been taken because we will not be perceived as operating or associated with companies perceived as being in the grey zone.
• As we have stated earlier, we will of course include all new relevant information that comes to our knowledge in our internal investigation. Should the internal investigation disclose information that we have been non-compliant, this is of course unacceptable and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
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