Nordic Chapter

Nordic Chapter


The mission of the ACFCS Nordic Chapter is to create a strong network and provide a platform to empower risk professionals to combat financial crime in the Nordics. Our approach is to foster innovation within FinTech/RegTech, encourage thought leadership, and provide opportunities to support the global fight against financial crime.


We will accomplish this mission by bringing together experts with diverse backgrounds and international experience. We will offer unique opportunities through the development of educational programs, including a wide range of in-person and virtual events, featuring speakers from the government sector and across different industries.

Louie Vargas


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Louie Vargas (Chair) is a Scheme Compliance Manager with the Nets Group based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Previously, he has worked for J.P. Morgan Chase, Agricultural Bank of China, Deutsche Bank based out of New York City and Danske Bank based out of Copenhagen. Currently, he is focusing on distributing announcements received from Mastercard, Visa and other in-scope schemes to relevant stakeholders. In addition, provide oversight in any remediation work to comply with the announcements and avoid fines. Louie is passionate about learning from and sharing information with others.

Hera U. Smith


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Hera U. Smith (Co-Chair) is a Director of Financial Crime Compliance at Moody’s Analytics. Hera has extensive experience in Sanctions, AML, and Financial Crime. She has built and managed Global Sanctions Programs in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, and has experience implementing Sanctions, PEP, and Adverse Media screening and KYC verification systems.

Before joining Moody’s, Hera worked at Danske Bank, where she helped enhance the Bank’s sanctions processes and managed external commitments to regulators. Prior to Danske Bank, she was based in the United States. She headed the Global Sanctions Program in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific regions for Associated Foreign Exchange, and before that, worked at East West Bank. In her early career, she worked as a litigation lawyer, and is a licensed attorney in California and the Philippines. She is a Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) a Certified Global Sanctions Specialist (CGSS) and a Certified Sanctions Specialist (CSS). She also has an International Diploma in Governance, Risk & Compliance from the International Compliance Association (ICA) and helped draft sanctions certifications for ACSS and ACAMS CGSS.

Hannah Becher

Programming Director

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Hannah Becher (Programming Director) is a data-savvy senior risk & decision scientist focused on ensuring sustainable value and good governance building customer-centric FinTech solutions. In her current role @Pleo, she builds and implements financial crime risk rating models and engages with C-executives, product managers and the regulator to ensure we can 'make everyone feel valued at work' while scaling rapidly across Europe.

She is the founder of BrainFruits, a platform to help women engineer their future in the tech & finance sector ( She is passionate about economic empowerment, diversity, inclusive finance, and mental well-being.

Mitchell White

Programming Director

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Mitchell White (Programming Director) is a senior risk and intelligence analyst at Norwegian Customs (Tolletaten). Mitchell's primary responsibility is tracking, analyzing, and informing internal stakeholders and decision makers on risks and intelligence factors impacting the oversight of business customers engaging in customs procedures. Mitchell specializes in social and complex network analysis and network flow mapping.

Prior to joining Norwegian Customs, Mitchell was the Nordic Due Diligence Leader for Santander Consumer Bank - Nordics with primary responsibility for the daily operations of the bank's due diligence specialists in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Before joining Santander, Mitchell worked as a consultant for BDO Consulting in Norway. Prior to moving to Norway, Mitchell was a United States military officer and has experience in a variety of security issues affecting Southeast Asia.

Jens Nielsen

Communications Director

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Jens Nielsen (Communications Director) is employed in the Danish Business Authority’s team Global Trade and Security. Jens works with export controls and sanctions. His main responsibility is the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the EU-sanctions the Danish Business Authority is responsible for, as well as guiding and assisting Danish companies in complying with these complex rules

Daniel Palmason

Communications Director

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Daníel Pálmason (Communications Director) is the General Counsel & Head of Compliance for Lucinity, an AML software provider headquartered in Reykjavík. He also serves on the board of Akta Capital Management, a regulated fund management company. Previously, he was the Head of Compliance & MLRO for Kvika, an Icelandic commercial bank, and a practicing attorney in Iceland. Daníel has also been a guest lecturer at Reykjavík University, Bifröst University and the Stockholm School of Economics.

Jeff Nielsen

Membership Director

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Jeff Nielsen (Membership Director) is a sanctions and export controls lawyer with over 20 years representing clients in the financial, transport and technology sectors, including Maersk, Nordea and Danske Bank in the Nordics. Jeff's expertise is in both US and EU law, and also focuses on anti-money laundering in both jurisdictions. His practice includes providing counsel on regulatory change and compliance, sanctions and export controls risk mitigation in contracts and merger and acquisitions, internal investigations, and regulator interaction, both in advisory and enforcement contexts.

Christiaan van Schalkwyk

Membership Director

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Christiaan van Schalkwyk (Membership Director) is a Master of Laws (LLM) alumnus from Stellenbosch University (Western Cape, South Africa). During his studies, and to date, Christiaan has been employed in roles across different areas of the Legal and Financial Services industries from which he has acquired a wide range of skills and experience.

As an individual, Christiaan is eager to learn and further his education, skills, and experience as well as support other’s growth. Christiaan also had the opportunity to develop excellent interpersonal skills throughout his personal and professional life, especially working in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Christiaan is passionate about Financial Crime Compliance and Risk Management and believes in fighting the good fight. He does tend to refer to himself as a Sanctions and Embargoes nerd and loves every aspect of what he does. In his free time, Christiaan plays sports and likes spending time outdoors and traveling with his family and friends.

Katherine Campbell


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Katherine Campbell Nurmikko (Secretary) is a Senior Expert in Financial Crime Prevention at Nordea Bank Abp in Helsinki, Finland, where she focuses on financial crime investigations and regulatory reporting. Her previous experience includes KYC due diligence, KYC process management, and AML investigations and reporting at financial services companies in California and Tallinn, Estonia. Katherine is a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (ACFCS), Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS), and holds a Masters Degree in International Policy Studies with a focus on Trade, Investment and Development from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Benjamin Brown


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Benjamin Masanori Kojiro Brown (Secretary) is an Account Executive at Strise, a Norwegian RegTech focused on optimising Know Your Customer (KYC) and Ongoing Due Diligence (ODD) procedures. Hailing from Australia, he has lived and worked in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Paris and now, Oslo. He has eight years of sales experience in B2B tech startups across various industries including finance, telecommunications and renewal energy. Ben is passionate about translating technological solutions into business and societal value with customers: financial crime prevention with being the worthiest cause he has been a part of to date.

Sujata Dasgupta

Chapter Advisor

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Sujata Dasgupta (Chapter Advisor) is a multiple international award-winning industry leader, and Global Head of Financial Crime Compliance Advisory at Tata Consultancy Services, based in Stockholm, Sweden. She has 22+ years of experience, having worked extensively in the areas of financial crime compliance across Banking, IT services and consulting for premier banks in 7 countries covering US, UK, EU, and Asia. She is an accomplished thought leader, author, columnist and speaker, and is regularly interviewed by reputed international journals for her analysis and opinions on contemporary topics in this area. She has won several awards including ‘Risk Professional of the Year 2021’ by Waters Technology and ‘Head of FinCrime Compliance 2021’ from GRC World Forums. She has also been named as a ‘Top 25 Thought Leader in Risk Management 2022’ by Thinkers360.

Lars Ekstrom

Chapter Advisor

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Lars Ekstrom (Chapter Advisor) is a seasoned corporate banker with 30+ years of working experience in the financial sector. Over the last 15 years, Lars has held senior management positions within banking, amongst them as General Manager of Danske Bank Poland for 8 years, General Manager of Danske Bank Germany for 4 years, and Global Head of Trade Finance at Danske Bank Group for 3 years. Lars has in these roles had the responsibilities for regulatory compliance and has maintained a frequent dialogue with local FSAs. Lars is a strong believer in a close collaboration between regulatory authorities, the financial sector, and the business environment to ensure compliance with AML and KYC standards.


04/13/2023 4:30 PM CT

Enriching Know Your Customer Data for Enhanced Financial Crime Compliance


12/01/2022 4:00pm CET

ACFCS Nordic Chapter Launch Event

Coming Soon

See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying

"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."


(JD, Washington)

"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."


(CFCS, Official Superior

de Cumplimiento Cidel

Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)

"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."


(CFCS, Royal Band of

Canada, Montreal)

"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."


(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance

Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation

Training, Washington, DC)

"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."

Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles