FinCEN Files – our latest cross-border investigation – exposes how the world's biggest banks, tasked with stopping suspicious activity, actually profit hugely from it. Over the coming days and weeks, we will take you on a shocking worldwide tour of corruption and inequality, as we send each story directly to your inbox.
The very idea of money laundering and the despots, terrorists and drug lords who benefit from it, may not register as an immediate threat – especially in a year punctuated by a global health crisis. But the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to grip much of the world, shows just how important every dollar is to our revenue-starved governments.
Today, we explain how our broken financial system lets anonymous companies go unchecked and how millions of dollars in public money gets looted – instead of helping fund hospitals or other public services.
At the heart of the FinCEN Files are 2,100 extremely secret documents, known as suspicious activity reports, that were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with us. These documents offer extraordinary insight into the secret world of international banking.
From these files, more than 400 reporters in 88 countries have taken threads of information – a name, a company – and researched, interviewed, and further sourced more than 17,000 additional documents to tell stories of notorious figures who have benefited from a system unable to protect us.