Source: International Finance Daily
Banks are supposed to embody credibility, and world-class Banks are often on the front lines of anti-money laundering. But it found that some of the world’s largest Banks were actually funding oligarchs, criminals and terrorists.
International Banks have transferred large amounts of illegal funds over a period of nearly 20 years, U.S. media reported Monday, citing confidential documents provided to the U.S. government by Banks.
Most of the more than 2,500 leaked documents from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the Treasury Department, were “suspicious activity reports” submitted by Banks to FinCEN between 2000 and 2017.
In the process of financial regulation, financial institutions are required to submit a “suspicious Activity Report” (SARs) to the financial regulator when they detect suspicious transactions or potentially suspicious activities. Reports of suspicious activity reflect the concerns of Banks’ internal regulators and are not necessarily evidence of criminal or other wrongdoing. However, internal compliance officers at financial institutions flag more than $2 trillion in transactions as possible money laundering or other criminal activity.
The classified documents show that several US Banks ignored the government’s anti-money laundering efforts and transferred huge amounts of illegal cash to members of criminal networks and criminals.
HSBC holdings PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, j.p. Morgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are the top five global Banks mentioned in the document.
Although THE FIVE global Banks were fined by US authorities for failing to stop illegal money laundering, the financial institutions did not stop and have been profiting from powerful and dangerous criminals, according to the documents.
Among them, jpmorgan Chase involved $514 billion, Deutsche Bank $1.3 trillion and Standard Chartered Bank $166.1 billion.
The FinCEN documents also reveal details of a series of transactions in which Banks and individuals moved stolen money:
HSBC allowed fraudsters to move millions of dollars around the world;
Jpmorgan Transferred more than $1 billion to an unidentified company, only to discover that the owner might be a Mafia boss and one of the FBI’s ten most wanted men.
Deutsche Bank is suspected of helping criminal organizations, terrorists and drug traffickers launder money;
Barclays is suspected of opening secret accounts for the Russian billionaire to help him escape sanctions and launder money (the US and EU imposed financial restrictions on him in 2014).
It is worth noting that U.S. regulators, who enforce money laundering laws, rarely prosecute large Banks for breaking the law, and that the actions taken by the authorities have little impact on the secretive trading, money laundering and financial crime that pervade the international financial system.
Money laundered often moves between accounts held by shell companies registered in offshore tax havens, allowing their owners to hide large sums from law enforcement and tax authorities. The analysis showed that the Banks in FinCEN’s files routinely processed transactions with companies registered in so-called secrecy jurisdictions, while the ultimate owners of the accounts were unknown. At least 20 per cent of the reports included clients in the British Virgin Islands, one of the world’s largest offshore financial havens, and many others listed addresses in the UK, THE US, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Switzerland.
Reporter Yuan Yuan Yang Junyao
Edit Cheng Hui
Managing editor Sun Xiao