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US banks didn’t act on ‘suspicious’ Jho Low, 1MDB-linked transfers until too late, leak shows

Aidila Razak

Published
Modified 23 Sep 2020, 4:11 am

Billions of American dollars moved between fugitive Jho Low’s family and related businesses in multiple US banks without issue for several years despite red flags later acknowledged by the banks themselves.

Reports the banks filed with the US Treasury among others stated they could not locate the source of the funds and “could not rule out the possibility of illicit funds being used”.

However, several banks only filed the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to flag these suspicious transfers years after the transactions, a leak revealed.

Several banks only filed from 2016 onwards - after the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its kleptocracy action involving misappropriation of 1MDB funds that year.

This despite the “suspicious” transactions happening as early as 2010, in the case of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Coporation (HSBC) United States, which only filed a SAR about that transaction in 2017.

US banks must file SARs with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) when the institution suspects potential offences, including money laundering, within 60 days of detected suspicious activity.

Leaked documents showed ... 

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