The world’s most powerful banks have uncovered a large amount of money that is clearly visible in terms of government regulations. FinCEN files Investigations in the aftermath of the recession have hurt the financial industry and led to tougher sanctions in the United States and elsewhere.
BuzzFeed News; A joint team of international investigative journalists and 108 news outlets around the world have begun publishing stories based on classified documents, and UK lawmakers An official investigation into the supervision of British banks, Supported by Members of the European Parliament Stronger response across the continentAnd Thailand to Liberia.
Significantly, the FinCEN files were the final push to get through something very important in Washington, DC New law Anonymous shell companies aim to be one of the most effective methods of money laundering described in the stories. Under a law passed last week with overwhelming support between the two parties, the secretive US companies will be able to determine who owns them. Who needs to make a profit?
The Corporate Transparency Act has significantly improved anti-money laundering laws since the Patriot Act in 2001.
Provisions The legislative agenda included in the annual defense spending bill also addresses a number of other systematic problems identified in the FinCEN files, which highlight the effectiveness of government oversight and the failure of banks to prevent the flow of financial revenues.
Among these reforms, the Department of Justice is required to submit annual reports on the use of formal agreements that postpone legal proceedings. The US Treasury Department will look for new technologies to increase revenue flow awareness and improve communication between the private sector and federal agencies. In addition, PP attackers will receive new protections against unacceptable behavior.
President Donald Trump has widely promised to veto the bill. Because it does not remove protections that do not apply to social media companies – legislators can override their veto power.
BuzzFeed News – The ICIJ investigation has been cited by civil servants as a reason for support for reforms after years of inaction. “The BuzzFeed story is about strengthening our country’s anti-money laundering laws,” he said. It makes it clear that reforms and upgrades are needed, ”said Serat Brown, a senior Democrat in the Senate Banking Committee. “It simply came to our notice then.
Senior Democrat Sen. Ryan Weiden of the Senate Finance Committee cited FinCEN files on the day the bill passed. The goal has been reached. ”(Wyden supported the reforms but opposed broader legislation for reasons unrelated to fiscal regulation).
To continue the FinCEN Files investigation, reporters from six continents have released a wide range of suspicious activity reports (SARs) from the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Legal Network (FinCEN). SARs have detailed more than $ 2 trillion in suspicious transactions around the world, and reporters have blamed the money on terrorist groups and extremists. Linked to drug lords and kleptocrats. The 16-month investigation showed how banks helped laundered large sums of money and how criminals failed to govern or restrain banks in criminal matters.
One week before publication Journalists working on FinCEN Files have asked government leaders to share their findings and comment. Officers for United States And the UK have announced that they will change their anti-money laundering regulations. The specific rules shown in the FinCEN Files are invalid and ineffective.
BuzzFeed News liaises with US Treasury Department The agency has announced that it will begin work on how to reform the Banking Secrecy Act of 1970, which has long ruled the country’s anti-money laundering policy. Organizers; Banks The fact that financial services companies and experts displayed FinCEN files submitted 110 comments. The United States needs to make drastic changes to its anti-money laundering defense.
Meanwhile, two days before the release of the first FinCEN Files on September 18, officials in London Plans were announced There are companies registered there. To improve the way information is collected.
“It’s hard to believe that the publication of FinCEN Files will soon be in their hands,” said Tom Kitty, director of the Royal United Kingdom Institute of Service’s Department of Banking Crime and Security Studies.
As events unfolded, so did the demand for reform.
British legislators It started Official investigation of “Deep Trouble” questions posed in FinCEN Files. Parliamentary Finance Committee Promise Examine government regulations and the progress of law enforcement agencies in preventing money laundering.
Speaking in the European Parliament, politicians Uniform rules demanded And new or existing regulatory bodies, stronger regulators in the form of greater authority for European banking authority.
“The current anti-money laundering system It simply does not workEuropean Parliament member Eero Heinäluoma said during the debate over the FinCEN files. “This is Swiss cheese full of holes.”
Other national governments were quick to discover the findings. In Scythian and Liberia, journalists’ statements were referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission for further action.
At the same time, criminals and authoritarian regimes, which have long been known to keep their financial affairs secret, have strongly criticized journalists. Before and after the release of the FinCEN files, reporters from countries in Africa and the Middle East began shouting slogans and chanting slogans. He was threatened and intimidated. In Turkey, courts have banned the publication of FinCEN files.
At the same time, FinCEN files have proven to be a powerful tool for international transparency and accountability.
Activists in Nigeria have filed the FinCEN Files case as part of a lawsuit that forced the government to investigate the $ 120 million corruption scandal. In Thailand, they set the rules Try it One of the highlights of the money transfer was the local banks Analysis For the series. And Belgian banks Proposed By creating a platform for exchanging information on suspicious transactions, US banks have supported legislation targeting companies.
In contrast, the banking arm’s campaign sought to downplay the findings of the investigation.
Published by the Banking Policy Institute AnnouncementAds on social media, trying to cool off on the importance of FinCEN files.
According to the central body, the bank sometimes continues to make payments to customers who have been repeatedly deceived by suspicious behavior. Campaigners have often told the government to keep bank accounts open.
However, BuzzFeed News does not display any instructions in the documents in the FinCEN files.
The campaign has argued that many SARs have nothing to do with illegal activities. The group cites data from a survey of 14 banks and says that about 4% of SARs are SARs that result from the rule of law. A small portion of these results could lead to arrest and, ultimately, punishment.
“In the end, 90 to 95 percent of the people reported by the banks are probably innocent,” the banks said. ”
However, the lack of formal follow-up does not mean that the flag-raising activity is legitimate. Federal investigators do not have the resources to track every leadership and do not automatically notify banks when investigating SARs subjects.
By law, banks must report when they find payments that indicate money laundering or other financial corruption. Although SARs are not criminal evidence themselves, it is very important for the rule of law to be used illegally.
Speaking to Christopher Farrell, director of the FBI this month He said SARs can “catch unbelievable behavior” and allow agents to “follow the financial path; Investigating individuals and organizations; Identifying leadership; According to legal sources, the records were used to search for parts of drug networks; Officials may decide to clarify the funding of terrorist cells and to blacklist companies or those involved in unacceptable conduct.
BuzzFeed News contacted questions for the story, adding that the Banking Policy Institute, citing its own research on the matter, added that the FinCEN files were submitted “incredibly narrowly” every year. :
The World Bank immediately after the release of FinCEN Files Significant?But it was more than a share price, and the industry was in turmoil. The series has been reflected and debated in many media and industry forums. “This banking scandal is a risk,” he said FreePublished in the United Kingdom, commented. “If not for many years, it will last for months.”
More than 100 columns and commentary published in commercial and business publications since September point to FinCEN files as industry experts advocate for change. At International Banker, Laurent Liotard-Vogt and Florent Palayret manage business management consulting firm Chappuis Halder & Co. Work at Proposed He concluded with solutions, including regulations to protect shell companies: “This system is about to collapse and needs to be reconsidered. ”
Nine days after the findings of the FinCEN Files investigation, Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell New York State Department of Financial ServicesShe published her own AnalysisNote that, the series provides an opportunity to solve long-term problems. “Now we have to act with this new highlight,” he said.
Banking; Senator Elizabeth Lischev Warren, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee member; Quoted Stories to demand effective change for oversight.
He told BuzzFeed News this week that the Corporate Transparency Act should be the first step and would support further reforms, including greater accountability to Wall Street for financial crimes. “I will continue to talk,” he said. Legislation Their organizations are responsible for personal and criminal liability for executives when they violate the law.