Stockholm (NordSIP) – Christian Hyldahl, the chief executive of Denmark’s €104 billion pension fund ATP, has announced his departure following a mushrooming tax-avoidance scandal and disclosures of questionable activities during his time as head of Nordea Markets.
“I have made the decision to resign from my position because parts of the external sectors on which ATP relies do not trust me as chief executive of ATP and I am forced to conclude that there are no prospects for this to change,” he said in a press release.
The Danish finance daily Børsen recently revealed that he had been involved in claiming unwarranted tax benefits from the Swiss state as head of Nordea Markets in 2008.
Nordea has previously acknowledged involvement in controversial stock trading in Switzerland in connection with dividend tax between 2006 and 2007. At the time, the bank claimed the transactions were stopped when Swiss authorities discovered that financiers from a number of countries were taking advantage of Swiss legislation.
Authorities then issued stern warnings to a number of banks, including Nordea. But Børsen reveals that Nordea Markets did not heed the warning.
The manoeuvre lasted only for a short period while Nordea scored over DKK 300 million in dividends. Authorities soon came after Nordea, and the Swiss Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that Nordea, along with a number of other banks was not entitled to the refunds it had applied for.
Hyldahl had previously expressed disagreement with the judgment issued by the Swiss Supreme Court and maintained nothing was done illegally. But following an initial refusal to give an interview to address the recent revelations, he told the publication Finans on Friday that seen in hindsight, he could acknowledge that the purpose of the dividends was tax speculation.
“When one looks at it today, I recognise that it looks like this. The mindset at that time was not that it was tax speculation, but that these were deals where mispricing could be exploited. But if we had the same focus on social responsibility as we have today, we would not have pursued these deals,” Hyldahl said.
ATP’s board of directors were set to determine Hyldhal’s future at an extraordinary board meeting on Monday, but by then he had already resigned.
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