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Nordic noir

Sally March ( is Director, Drummond March & Co, in London, UK.

Film buffs know that “film noir” refers to dark, downbeat, cynical cinema. “Nordic noir” hit our screens in the last decade with dark tales of Scandinavian crime such as The Killing and The Bridge. And now, it feels as though we are in the midst of a corporate Nordic noir with money-laundering scandals and telecoms corruption.

It is curious that countries that rank at the top of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index should be rocked by scandals on such a scale. Last year, it was revealed that Danske Bank had laundered billions via its subsidiary in Estonia. This was followed by the revelations that Swedbank and its Baltic subsidiaries were also a money laundromat. That Russian money flowed out through its neighbors in the Baltics should be no surprise. That the Scandinavian banks and their regulators failed to notice more than $200 billion flowing through these subsidiaries is a surprise. Apparently even the Russian central bank noticed.

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