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Fin CEN Files


FinCEN Files is a cross-border investigation based on secret documents that exposes how banks and regulators have failed the public by allowing dirty money to flow unchecked around the globe. It shows how politicians, crooks, and tycoons profit at the expense of governments and ordinary people.

  • The FinCEN Files are leaked documents from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), investigated by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and globally publicised on 20 September 2020.
  • The reports describe over 200,000 suspicious financial transactions valued at over US$2 trillion that occurred from 1999 to 2017 across multiple global financial institutions.
  • The documents appear to show that while both the banks and the United States Government had this financial intelligence, they did little to stop activities such as money laundering.
  • The information implicates financial institutions in more than 170 countries who played a role in the facilitation of money laundering and other fraudulent crimes.

What is FinCEN?

  • It is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury that collects and analyses information to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, evasion of economic sanctions and other financial crimes.
  • FinCEN collates suspicious activity reports (SARs), reports required to be filed by financial institutions when they suspect their clients are engaging in financial crime.
  • Unauthorized disclosure of a SAR is a US Federal criminal offense, as it could undermine or hamper ongoing investigations, and threaten the safety of financial institutions and those who file the SARs.
  • SARs are not evidence of a crime, but the FinCEN claims they provide vital information to the investigate crimes.

Who worked on the FinCEN Files investigation?

  • ICIJ, BuzzFeed News and 108 other media partners in 88 countries spent 16 months organizing and analyzing leaked documents, and obtaining hundreds of other confidential documents, court records, archives, public records, and interviews.

What is ICIJ?

  • The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is an independent, Washington, D.C.-based international network of more than 200 investigative journalists and 100 media organizations in over 70 countries.