A total of 3,201 transactions involving $1.53 billion that have been listed as "suspicious" in nature in the leaked confidential documents of banks submitted to the US government are those with complete Indian addresses linked to different entities, said The Indian Express.
The newspaper, along with 109 media organisations in 88 countries, has teamed up with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and BuzzFeed News to trace the Indian entities and banks named in the SARs filed with FinCEN between 1999 and 2017.
On Sunday, BuzzFeed and other media reported the involvement of large global banks, including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon, in moving large sums of alleged illicit funds over nearly two decades. These reports were based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the US government's Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).
These SARs reportedly include spreadsheets of transactions that have been red-flagged for suspected money laundering, terrorism, drug dealing or financial fraud. However, these SARs are not necessarily evidence of any criminal conduct.
The media reports citing these SARs suggest that Deutsche Bank AG facilitated more than half of the $2 trillion leaked suspicious transactions, that is transactions worth $1.3 trillion.
The Indian Express said it investigated these files for over three months to find Indian trails and their investigation revealed that these SARs include Indian entities named in scams such as the 2G scam; the Augusta Westland scandal; the Rolls Royce bribery case and the Aircel-Maxis case besides other corruption and duty-evasion cases, that are also being investigated by agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation; the Enforcement Directorate and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
Without naming any of the entities or person involved directly, the Indian Express report revealed that the individuals and companies include "a jailed art and antique smuggler; a global diamond firm owned by Indian-born citizens named in several offshore leaks; a premier healthcare and hospitality group; a bankrupt steel firm; a luxury car dealer who allegedly duped several high net worth individuals; a multinational Indian conglomerate; a sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team; an alleged hawala dealer who became the reason for a massive fight within the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and a key financier of an Indian underworld don, among others."
It also said that as many as 44 Indian banks appear in the FinCEN files primarily because these are "correspondent banks" to the foreign banks who have filed these SARs and include names of Punjab National Bank, Kotak Mahindra, HDFC Bank, Canara Bank, IndusInd Bank and Bank of Baroda, among others.