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FinCEN Files flag illicit transfers to two banks in Maldives

21 September 2020, MVT 21:06
FinCEN Files indicate that over USD 500,000 flowed into two banks operated in Maldives through 18 transactions flagged as suspicious transfers.
21 September 2020, MVT 21:06

The leaked FinCEN Files data indicates that over USD 500,000 flowed into two banks in Maldives through 18 transactions flagged as suspicious transfers.

The allegedly illicit transactions came to light after an international journalism investigation, by Buzzfeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), was published Monday.

Led by 108 international media outlets from 88 countries, the probe was based on thousands of suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted by banks around the world to the United States (US) Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Dubbed the FinCEN Files, the investigation shows that China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund responsible for managing China's foreign exchange reserves, made:

- 12 transactions amounting to total USD 296,928, to the State Bank of India (SBI) in capital Male', between September 17, 2015 and March 17, 2016

- 6 transactions of total USD 204,431 to Hong Kong And Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) in Male', between November 27, 2015 and March 8, 2016

The transactions, which amount to a total of USD 501,359, were made via the Verwaltungs- und Privat-Bank (VP Bank AG), one of the largest banks of Liechtenstein.

According to the FinCEN files, the transfers were flagged as suspicious by a US-based bank which filed SARs with the agency.

Furthermore, the documents indicate that no suspicious transfers were made out of Maldives during these time periods.

The FinCEN Files relate to USD 2 trillion in allegedly illicit transactions that circulated between 1999 and 2017.

The leaked data has implicated several financial institutions around the world, notably five major banks -- JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon -- which are accused of continuing to move assets of alleged criminals, even after being prosecuted or convicted for financial misconduct.

"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", claims the files.

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