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Indian banks involved in money laundering, dubious transactions

| FinCEN report finds suspicious transactions through Indian banks between 2010 and 2017 were possibly used for 

money-laundering, terror financing, drug dealing

ISLAMABAD   –  US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for suspected money laundering, terror financing, drug dealing, and financial fraud has found several suspicious transactions through Indian banks between 2010 and 2017 that were flagged as top-secret ‘Suspicious Activity Reports’ (SARs).

Almost all major banks in India, public, private and foreign, witnessed these transactions and they themselves red-flagged the transactions as suspicious to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and relevant authorities and that’s how their names reached the FinCEN list. 

According to the media reports, the transactions were part of $2 trillion suspicious transfers flagged by the top US authority in the FinCEN list. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) obtained the data that traces these global transactions, which happened between 1999 and 2017. Part of this data has been released by the consortium on its website. According to the report, at least 44 Indian banks have been found involved in the same.

The FinCEN files most likely accumulated the transaction information provided by global banking regulators as part of their coordinated effort to fight suspicious transactions. So far, the ICIJ has tracked down 18,153 transactions, totalling $35 billion, in which links between both sending and beneficiary banks have been established. The reports said that in India’s case, the FinCEN Files, so far, have established sender-receiver connections for 406 transactions involving all major banks, including the country’s largest, State Bank of India.

According to the FinCEN Files, Indian banks received $482,181,226 from outside the country and transferred $406,278,962 from the country. These transactions were flagged to the US authorities.

The banks found involved in the dubious transactions include: State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, YES Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (India operations), Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, Deutsche Bank (India operations), UCO Bank, Karnataka Bank, RBS, Andhra Bank, and Vijaya Bank. These transactions allowed criminals to move dirty money around the globe which was quite possibly used for terrorism and drugs.

Standard Chartered Bank, in a single transaction, transferred Merrill Lynch Bank Suisse $8,173,378 on July 9, 2011. The Bank of India received $119,548,135 in 19 transactions from DBS Bank between November 4, 2015, and April 14, 2016, said the report.

HDFC Bank sent Standard Chartered Bank $327,999,890 through 11 transactions between September 24, 2012, and February 15, 2013. IndusInd Bank transferred HSBC $8,260,868 between June 13, 2008, and November 7, 2012, in 55 transactions. SBI transferred $5,791,055 to DNB ASA in nine transactions between January 25, 2012, and October 9, 2012. The SBI received $23,325,000 from Rak Bank through six transactions between March 2, 2014, and March 23, 2014. State-owned Canara Bank received $2,761,523 from National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah between July 24, 2013, and November 7, 2013, through 20 transactions. The Bank of India received $11,214,476 from Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in 16 transactions between January 13, 2010, and December 23, 2010.

The report suggests that 44 Indian banks, through 3201 illegal transactions, collectively laundered $1.53 billion. Who used this huge money still remains a question. A recent UN report had confirmed presence of terrorist groups in Kirala and Assam which gives strength to the notion that this huge money was being spent to patronize them. It is believed that antique smugglers are involved in the money-laundering. The Indian Premier League is also plagued by such money-laundering activities.

banks, including the country’s largest, State Bank of India.

According to the FinCEN Files, Indian banks received $482,181,226 from outside the country and transferred $406,278,962 from the country. These transactions were flagged to the US authorities.

The banks found involved in the dubious transactions include: State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, YES Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Standard Chartered Bank (India operations), Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, Deutsche Bank (India operations), UCO Bank, Karnataka Bank, RBS, Andhra Bank, and Vijaya Bank. These transactions allowed criminals to move dirty money around the globe which was quite possibly used for terrorism and drugs.

Standard Chartered Bank, in a single transaction, transferred Merrill Lynch Bank Suisse $8,173,378 on July 9, 2011. The Bank of India received $119,548,135 in 19 transactions from DBS Bank between November 4, 2015, and April 14, 2016, said the report.

HDFC Bank sent Standard Chartered Bank $327,999,890 through 11 transactions between September 24, 2012, and February 15, 2013. IndusInd Bank transferred HSBC $8,260,868 between June 13, 2008, and November 7, 2012, in 55 transactions. SBI transferred $5,791,055 to DNB ASA in nine transactions between January 25, 2012, and October 9, 2012. The SBI received $23,325,000 from Rak Bank through six transactions between March 2, 2014, and March 23, 2014. State-owned Canara Bank received $2,761,523 from National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah between July 24, 2013, and November 7, 2013, through 20 transactions. The Bank of India received $11,214,476 from Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in 16 transactions between January 13, 2010, and December 23, 2010. The report suggests that 44 Indian banks, through 3201 illegal transactions, collectively laundered $1.53 billion. Who used this huge money still remains a question. 

A recent UN report had confirmed presence of terrorist groups in Kirala and Assam which gives strength to the notion that this huge money was being spent to patronize them. It is believed that antique smugglers are involved in the money-laundering. The Indian Premier League is also plagued by such money-laundering activities.

 



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