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Banking mogul Wahlroos on Nordea in Panama Papers: "We did nothing wrong"

Banking magnate and Nordea bank chairman Björn Wahlroos has described as disproportionate the outcry over Nordea’s involvement in alleged tax avoidance as revealed by the Panama Papers data leak. However he did acknowledge that the scandal may have tarnished the bank’s reputation.

Björn Wahlroos Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

On Sunday evening Yle reported that Nordea Bank had facilitated hundred of offshore companies for its clients, according to documents uncovered in the large scale Panama Papers data leak.

On Thursday, Nordea board chairman, Finnish businessman Björn Wahlroos broke his silence on the drama, saying that the institution had done nothing wrong.

"We have looked into this for a week and a half. It should be noted that according to legislation, bank regulations and our internal guidelines, everything has been done for the most part as it should be done," Wahlroos commented.

Wahlroos, who relocated to Sweden at the end of 2013, reportedly for tax reasons, also stressed that since 2009, Nordea had brushed up on internal regulations, when legal frameworks have required it.

Nordea's involvement "exaggerated"

The chairman of Nordea and Sampo banks as well as forest industry company UPM said that Nordea is not the only bank with links to tax havens. He added that the scale of Nordea’s involvement in in helping clients conceal their wealth is not what it seems.

"There is a lot of information going around about this, which is to some extent exaggerated," he noted.

However Wahlroos acknowledged that Nordea’s status has taken a hit as a result of the revelations.

"It remains to be seen how bad it is," he remarked.

The bank chairman said that he first heard of the revelations at the bank’s annual general meeting on March 17. The Panama Papers data leak indicated that Nordea had worked with the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca to help clients set up as many as 400 offshore companies to conceal their wealth.