The investigation, named the FinCEN Files, reveals criminals, politicians and others who move money, often secretly, around the world. Global banks in New York, Europe, and Africa don’t always know who they are moving money for or that the people and companies involved are suspected of money laundering, corruption or other crimes. The findings reveal consequences of allowing banks to lead the world’s anti-money laundering defenses against kleptocracy, crime and terror, even as the banks earn huge profits from these same malefactors.
Cenozo provided editorial, legal and research support to journalists from across Africa with support from Free Press Unlimited. Recognizing the global importance of the FinCEN Files and as part of its mission to support investigative journalism, Cenozo extended services to journalists outside West Africa.
The FinCEN Files investigation is based in part on more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports, or SARs, filed by to the U.S. Treasury’s intelligence unit, the Financial Crime Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN. BuzzFeed News obtained the documents and shared them with ICIJ, which assembled a team of journalists.
A suspicious activity report is not evidence of wrongdoing or criminality but indicates that bank employees had concerns about transactions sent or received.
News and media partners in 88 countries, spent months organizing and analyzing the documents, collecting additional leaked documents from sources, reading through court and archival records and interviewing hundreds of people, including crime fighters and crime victims.
In Africa, the collaboration involved reporters from Senegal, The Gambia, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cameroon.