Six Pakistani banks have been named in an investigation on the role global banks play in money laundering by Buzzfeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), for 29 suspicious transactions close to $2.5 million.
The banks named are Allied Bank, United Bank (UBL), Habib Metropolitan Bank, Bank Alfalah, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, and Habib Bank (HBL). All the suspicious transactions took place in 2011 and 2012.
Buzzfeed News had shared with ICIJ more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports, or SARs, filed by global banks to the U.S. Treasury Department’s intelligence unit, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN.
According to the investigation, global banks moved more than $2 trillion between 1999 and 2017 in suspicious payments, and flagged bank clients in more than 170 countries who were identified as being involved in potentially illicit transactions.
Banks file SARs when they believe a client is using services for potential criminal activity, though the filing in itself does not require a bank to stop doing business with a client.
According to the data revealed by ICIJ, 29 such suspicious transactions to and from Pakistan were flagged. Of those, the ‘received’ transactions amounted to $1,942,560, while the ‘sent’ transaction was $452,000.
Allied Bank had 12 suspicious transactions flagged, receiving $1,001170; UBL had eight transactions flagged, receiving $399,620; Habib Metro had two transactions flagged, receiving $74,980; Bank Alfalah had three transactions flagged, receiving $99,480 and sending $452,000; Standard Chartered had four transactions flagged, receiving $199,860; and HBL had one transaction flagged, receiving $167,450.
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.