A cache of thousands of reports filed by major banks with federal regulators shows they helped suspected terrorists, drug traffickers, and corrupt foreign officials move trillions of dollars around the world, despite banks’ concerns over the suspicions of the transactions.
The documents, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, were received from BuzzFeed News and shared with a worldwide consortium of journalists. The more than 2,100 reports of suspicious activity filed by major U.S. and international banks relate to transactions of more than $ 2 trillion from 1999 to 2017.
Banks are required to file reports with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of transactions that they believe may be part of a money laundering system, fraud, or other illegal activity.
BuzzFeed received suspicious activity reports filed by the largest U.S. lenders – including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America – and large international institutions like Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Many of these banks have been repeatedly fined by the United States and other agencies for their role in money laundering.
One of BuzzFeed’s key findings was that Standard Chartered, which operates primarily in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, appeared to have helped raise funds for a Dubai-based company that reportedly had Taliban ties. JPMorgan, the Bank of New York Mellon, and other banks appear to have helped move more than $ 150 million for companies tied to the North Korean regime an accompanying report from NBC News.
By late 2013, JPMorgan Chase officials had filed at least eight suspicious activity reports of banking activity related to Paul Manafort, chairman of President Trump’s 2016 campaign. JPMorgan also moved more than $ 1 billion for the suspected mastermind of a huge scam involving a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund
Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, said, “We have played a leadership role in anti-money laundering reform, which will modernize government and law enforcement efforts against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.”
Standard Chartered spokesperson Chris Teo said, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime very seriously and have invested heavily in our compliance programs.”
A representative from the Bank of New York Mellon and Standard Chartered did not immediately respond to a request for comment.