Dirty money: Global banks complicit in flow of illicit funds for years

Daniel Fowler
September 21, 2020

Shares of some major banks are tumbling before the market open Monday following a report alleging those including JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon continued to profit from illicit dealings with disreputable people and criminal networks despite being previously fined for similar actions.

The "FinCEN Leaks" that was scrutinised by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) flagging such suspicious transactions.

Standard Chartered Plc, which was likewise discussed in the ICIJ report, decreased as much as 5.9% in Hong Kong and 5.1% inLondon "We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programs", the bank stated Monday in a declaration.

The London- based bank's Hong Kong shares on Monday moved listed below their closing low for March 2009, striking as low as HK$ 29.60.

Also in 2019, German prosecutors indicted a 48-year-old former employee of Deutsche Bank as part of a probe into a massive tax evasion scam that's led to more than a dozen prosecutions.

In the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) document leaks, the bulk of the suspicious transactions sent was by Public Bank Bhd at US$13.37 million in seven transactions, followed by OCBC Bank at US$10,100.

However, the SARs are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing, and the ICIJ reported the leaked documents were a tiny fraction of the reports filed with FinCEN.

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According to Rochester Police Department's Major Crimes Unit, the shooting took place on Pennsylvania Avenue at about 12:30 am. Police were not aware of the party beforehand, and had not received any calls for disturbance, Simmons said.

"Law enforcement may sometimes request firms keep a client relationship ongoing to support further investigations", the group added.

"These documents, compiled by banks, shared with the government, but kept from public view, expose the hollowness of banking safeguards, and the ease with which criminals have exploited them", wrote USA outlet Buzzfeed News, in the introduction of its report. The ICIJ reports that tainted transactions continued to surge through accounts at JPMorgan despite the bank's promises to improve its money laundering controls as part of settlements it reached with United States authorities in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

HSBC told the investigation team that it has always met its legal duties on reporting suspicious activities.

The investigation also highlighted the American authorities' lack of power in regulating dirty financial transactions.

ING said it had stopped working with one of the suspected enterprises in 2018 and was preparing to cut off relations with a second.

Barclays, -5.38%, Commerzbank, -4.06%, and Danske Bank, -3.06% were also named in the report, as were several US banks.

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