KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — A total of 23 transactions involving Malaysian banks were flagged as “suspicious” by United States banks in recent document leaks, with over US$4.88 million (RM20 million) going in and US$13.38 million (RM55 million) going out.
In the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) document leaks, the bulk of the suspicious transactions, a total of US$13.37 million in seven transactions, was sent by Public Bank Bhd, followed by OCBC Bank at US$10,100.
Meanwhile, AmBank led the list of suspicious transactions received at US$2.9 million in two transactions, followed by HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd (US$871,637) and Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd (US$462,378).
Other banks in the list included United Overseas Bank, CIMB Bank Bhd, and Standard Chartered Bank.
The transactions were flagged by three US banks: The Bank of New York Mellon Corp (the most at 14 transactions), followed by Standard Chartered Plc (seven), and JP Morgan Chase & Co.
The 23 transactions going in and out of these Malaysian banks involved overseas accounts in countries such as the US, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Poland and Latvia.
Malay Mail is seeking comments from the banks named and Bank Negara Malaysia.
The “FinCEN Leaks” that was scrutinised by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) flagging such suspicious transactions.
SARs must be filed with the US’ FinCEN when potential offences such as money laundering has been suspected within 60 days of detection.
The leaks also found that 27 banks had been flagged in transactions involving fugitive financier Jho Low, with eight SARs involving 103 transactions worth US$2.53 billion (RM10.39 billion) included in the leaks.
Five banks had lodged such SARs: Citibank, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, HSBC Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and The Bank of New York Mellon.
ICIJ said the FinCEN Files is “a cache of financial intelligence reports that reveals the role of global banks in industrial-scale money laundering — and the bloodshed and suffering that flow in its wake”.
It included more than 2,100 SARs filed by around 90 financial institutions to FinCEN between 1999 and 2017, and involved US$2 trillion in transactions.