Four out of five largest banks in Latvia noted in Panama leak

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Finansinspektionen, the Swedish finance authority, on Friday extended the range of its investigations and is now investigating four banks in connection to the 'Panama Papers' offshore scandal. Three of the banks are key players in Latvia, reported Monday. 

Previously Nordea was criticized for its involvement with Mossack Fonseca and the information uncovered by the Panama Papers leak. 

As of now Finansinspektionen has extended its investigation to include Nordea, Handelsbanken, SEB, and Swedbank. Only Handelsbanken does not have a Latvian office.

According to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, these banks are noted in the Panama Papers, with Nordea featuring most substantially.

Keeping in mind that Norwegian DNB and Latvian Rietumu have also been named in the leaked documents, reported, four out of five largest banks in Latvia--judging by the number of clients (DNB, Nordea, SEB, and Swedbank make the top 5) or the volume of assets (Rietumu, Nordea, SEB, and Swedbank)--have been named in the scandal. 

Using offshore companies is not illegal. Finansinspektionen press secretary Peter Svensson told Dagens Nyheter that the investigation does not assume there was something dubious found in connection with the banks. He said that the investigation could take weeks, or even longer.

As previously reported by LSM, Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based firm from which documents concerning offshore companies were leaked, operated a Riga bureau from 2009 until the end of 2015.

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