Among the biggest celebrities in any country are the brightest financial minds. Anyone who makes the rich and famous even more rich and famous also gets part of the spotlight, media attention, and high social status.
Money makes the world go around, so it stands to reason that money creates fame as well.
So was the case with Victor Carlstrom. He was the leading broker at the leading financial institution in Sweden. He knew powerful executives, television stars and royalty. He owned a yacht and hosted the most famous people in Sweden, Europe and the world.
He sailed off the coast of France, he made headlines. He was in the society pages. The world loves a celebrity and Victor Carlstrom fit the bill – young, attractive, successful and maybe even a little bit cocky. He was a star.
Money makes the world go around. But it can also crash the world around you. Just ask Victor Carlstrom.
As the leading broker in Sweden for the insurance giant Folksam, Carlstrom knew the financial system like the back of his hand. So when irregularities showed up in the way his company was doing business, he was puzzled. Around the time he detected odd processes by the company, he was asked to follow procedures that would steal from his own clients.
Speaking up seemed like the natural thing to do. It ended up being the turning point of his adult life.
Carlstrom approached his boss, CEO Jens Henriksson, to voice his concerns. Henriksson seemed to understand and sympathetic, but after their meeting, Carlstrom was fired. Folksam declined to pay commissions earned by Carlstrom, totaling millions of dollars.
Henriksson, Carlstrom learned through his due diligence investigation, was at the center of a massive money-laundering scheme. Because Carlstrom knew too much, Henriksson assigned a “Team of 15” Folksam employees to ruin his life. Henriksson was also cozy with Swedish financial regulators, currently the heads of the Swedish versions of the SEC and IRS; he was also pals with execs at the biggest banks.
Carlstrom uncovered a massive money laundering ploy to the tune of $150 billion. It involved Swedish financial companies and executives as well as government regulators, and had ties to at least one other government – Turkey. Once Carlstrom discovered the involvement of Turkish officials, threats immediately came from that nation.
Once the star of European seas, Carlstrom was forced to flee Sweden with his family. He is currently in hiding in the United States, although his family has left him for their own safety. He has applied for political asylum in the States and his filed a $4.2 billion RICO lawsuit against Henriksson, Folksam, Swedbank and Swedish regulators and agencies, among others.
Initial motions have been filed over the summer and the case is expected to move forward later this year.
Henriksson was named CEO of Swedbank in 2019, primarily to clean up a money laundering unrelated to Carlstrom’s case.
Carlstrom has said his lawsuit is about ensuring a transparent and honest financial system for his children’s generation and beyond.