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Six Pakistani banks named in FinCEN leak: Report

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 September 2020, 13:33 IST

As many as six Pakistani banks have been identified for suspicious transactions for close to USD 2.5 million, in a probe that looks into the role that global banks play in money laundering.

Pakistan Today reported that information revealed by data provided by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) found that 29 suspicious transactions of Pakistani banks took place between 2011 and 2012.

The list of banks involved in suspicious transactions includes United Bank (UBL), Allied Bank, Bank Alfalah, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, and Habib Bank (HBL).

"Out of the 29 transactions, Standard Chartered filed 28 SARs with FinCEN, while The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., filed one. All of these transactions took place between September and December 2012, except for one transaction that took place in November 2011," Pakistan Today reported.

The report was based on more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and financial institutions between 1999 and 2017 with the US Department of Treasury's Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) that were obtained by Buzzfeed News and shared with ICIJ.

The disclosures again raised questions about the success of government efforts to stamp out the flow of illicit funds around the globe and the effectiveness of internal anti-money-laundering compliance systems, which global banks have spent tens of billions of dollars to revamp in the past decade.

Among the SARs, banks flagged more than two trillion dollars in transactions for potential criminal activity including money laundering and sanctions violations. In some cases, banks continued to do business with individuals after receiving warnings from US officials, the ICIJ reported.

Several of the banks cited in the stories, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, previously paid billions of dollars in fines and agreed to deferred prosecution agreements in the past decade over failures in their anti-money-laundering programmes.

Last week, FinCEN announced it was considering changes to enhance the effectiveness of its anti-money-laundering programme.


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First published: 23 September 2020, 13:33 IST