Buzzfeed News and The Indian Express’s latest investigative reports, called the ‘FinCEN Files’, unravel financial transactions worth trillions of dollars flagged off as suspicious by global banking giants. These transactions reveal how oligarchs, money launderers, organised crime rings, and corrupt officials and businesspersons use the banking network to move billions of dollars around the world, financing terrorist attacks, drug deals, wars, human trafficking, and more.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, an agency within the US Treasury Department is responsible for identifying money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes. SARs—the Suspicious Activity Report—is a document filed by compliance officers at banks when a particular transaction raises a red flag. The SARs are submitted to FinCEN, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. However, every transaction which raises a red flag may not be illegal. The FinCEN Files also reveal some Indian companies named in various SARs filed by global banks.
Breaking down the FinCEN Files and the Indian connection, in numbers: