British lawmakers launch official inquiry into “deeply troubling” issues raised by the FinCEN files, a global money laundering investigation based on documents BuzzFeed News shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The investigation revealed how the Western banking giants move billions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the actions of terrorists, kleptocrats and drug pioneers.
The documents included numerous revelations about the UK financial system and some of its biggest banks, including HSBC, Standard charter, and Barclays. Money launderers often use UK shell companies to transfer their money thanks to the country’s lax laws on the creation of companies. The UK’s problems are so vast that a secret US government report describes the country as “higher risk”Jurisdiction for money laundering.
Parliament’s Treasury Committee announced the investigation just after midnight local time on Friday.
Mel Stride, the committee’s conservative chair, said the investigation will examine the progress made by government regulators and law enforcement agencies in preventing money laundering.
“It is important that the relevant bodies are held accountable and scrutinized in an effective manner to ensure that the UK is a clean place to do business,” he wrote in a statement. UK parliamentary inquiries typically collect evidence through written and oral testimony, much of which is made public, before issuing a final report.
When the FinCEN file investigation first came to light in September, Stride said his findings were “deeply disturbing” and sent a series of questions on this subject to major government agencies. Stride released the agencies’ official responses to the letters on Thursday.
The Financial Conduct Authority, which oversees banks operating in the UK, said it had written to all banks named in the FinCEN files to request further information, and said that in the event of “suspected serious misconduct She would open her own investigations.
James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Government Security, wrote in a response to Stride that the Home office and the National Economic Crime Center “were carefully examining the allegations” in the FinCEN files to “see what more needs to be done.”
The FinCEN Files investigation was based on thousands of “suspicious activity reports” sent by banks to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the US government agency responsible for preventing money laundering.
Responding to questions about whether the FinCEN files led banks to deposit less SAR, Brokenshire said law enforcement “has not raised any concerns” over the submission of suspicious activity reports. In the week following the publication, “inquiries continued to be submitted at their normal rate or above.”