One of the questions often left lingering after we publish a global investigation like the FinCEN Files is: what comes next? One of the U.S.’s top banking regulators has already hinted at an answer, admitting that the current financial system allows banks a “free pass” when it comes to processing suspicious transactions. We’ll be speaking with more experts over the coming weeks to find out how the banking world might change in the wake of the FinCEN Files… so stay tuned!
‘AWASH WITH DIRTY CASH’In an opinion piece released days after the FinCEN Files, Linda A. Lacewell, the superintendent of one of New York’s top banking regulatory bodies, acknowledged that the financial system is “awash with trillions of dollars in dirty money” and said that money laundering has wrapped itself “within the guts of financial institutions.”“Individual bankers are rarely held accountable, so money laundering becomes a source of profits and bank fines become a cost of doing business,” Lacewell wrote. “When the profits exceed the fines, the business choice is easily corrupted.” LAUNDERING IN LATVIAValdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the European Commission and the former prime minister of Latvia, has defended his record on combating money laundering after the FinCEN Files detailed how, for years, global banks secretly believed his home country was a magnet for tens of billions of dollars in dirty money. FINCEN FILES HIGHLIGHTSWe’re still pulling together the best FinCEN Files reporting from our media partners around the world. This week, our focus has been on Europe, where mafia groups, terror financiers, arms dealers and sanction busters all featured in stories published by our partners, who revealed how European banks and shell companies play a key role in global money laundering.We’ve also mined our partners’ stories on the gold and precious metals industry, from Benin to Bolivia to Britain. DOS SANTOS ENABLERSPortuguese auditing companies that broke anti-money laundering laws while helping Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos grow her business empire should face criminal prosecution, the country’s regulator has said. Our Luanda Leaks investigation revealed Dos Santos and associates moved hundreds of millions of dollars in public money out of Angola, with help from Western financial firms, lawyers, accountants, including in Portugal. BOTTLE OF LIESWe spoke with investigative journalist Katherine Eban about how she followed the story of fraud in generic drug manufacturing around the world for her latest, bestselling book Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom. Eban will run a masterclass at the upcoming Double Exposure investigative film festival. You can purchase tickets to the festival with a 10% discount using ICIJ’s code: ICIJDX20.Thanks for reading!Hamish Boland-RudderICIJ’s online editor
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