Global banks have engaged in industrial-scale money laundering according to secret financial intelligence reports leaked to the BuzzFeed News channel and analysed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The consortium alleges the leaked reports from the US treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reveal that banks’ profit motives override their legal obligations to curb money laundering.
US enforcement agencies meanwhile appear ineffective in their efforts to curb illicit financial flows by investments in real estate, gold, or trade-based money laundering (TBML).
Shell companies and secrecy
The FinCEN files as the ICIJ have called them found banks routinely processed transactions without knowing the ultimate source or destination of the money, “often to and from shell companies incorporated in secrecy jurisdictions in transactions with potential links to money laundering and corruption” according to the consortium.
It said the analysis also found lags from the time of a suspicious transaction to banks’ filing a report.
Some of the FinCEN files were gathered as part of US congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election; others were gathered following requests to FinCEN from law enforcement agencies according to BuzzFeed News.
It obtained the records and shared them with ICIJ and journalists from 108 news organisations in 88 countries to use as a basis of a 16 month investigation into money laundering and the role played by name brand banks.
The ICIJ’s investigation into the FinCEN Files can be found here.
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News