WASHINGTON, KOMPAS.com – Findings from the FinCEN files revealed how major banks have circulated massive sums of allegedly illicit funds for years.
The findings were part of a probe from Buzzfeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in which the latter denounced shortcomings in sector regulations.
"Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries, and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks' own employees," according to the probe from Buzzfeed News and the ICIJ.
Led by 108 international media outlets from 88 different countries, the investigation focused on thousands of suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted to the US Treasury Department's financial law enforcement agency, FinCEN, by banks from around the world.
"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 US outlet Buzzfeed News, in the introduction of its report.
The documents relate to $2 trillion in transactions that circulated between 1999 and 2017.
The investigation points in particular to five major banks — JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon — accused of continuing to move assets of alleged criminals, even after being prosecuted or convicted for financial misconduct.