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AML expert slams banks for betraying agents who ‘follow money laundering rules’

John Dobson says he is appalled that banks such as HSBC and Barclays have been accused of 'turning a blind eye' to dirty money.

Nigel Lewis

dobson aml

A leading industry AML expert has said the revelations contained within the ‘FinCEN files’ scandal highlighted by the BBC’s Panorama TV programme on Sunday are a ‘betrayal of all those working hard in the global fight against financial fraud’.

John Dobson, who runs AML service firm SmartSearch, says he is appalled that while many agents have been doing their bit by sticking to the latest anti-money laundering regulations, the documents suggest that many of the world’s biggest banks have “effectively turned a blind eye and enabled criminal to take full advantage”.

Dobson is referring to claims made within the BBC’s Panorama programme over the weekend that HSBC, Barclays and other banks allowed Ponzi scheme fraudsters and Russian oligarchs to transfer millions of dollars around the world despite the funds being ‘dirty money’.


“These revelations couldn’t have come at a worse time of course, with so many businesses reeling from the ongoing affects of the Covid 19 pandemic, and the extra security threats that has created,” says Dobson.

“Events like these are hugely damaging for the banks involved but also for all the other banks who are trying to stamp out money laundering, and it cannot go unpunished.”

The FinCEN files are more than 2,500 leaked documents, most of which are files that banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017, raising concerns about what their clients might be doing.

“Over the years SmartSearch has developed more and more enhanced levels of security for its customers in a bid to stay ahead of the criminals. Never for a moment did we consider we’d have to stay one step ahead of the institutions we thought we were trying to protect,” says Dobson.

Read more about the FinCEN scandal.

September 22, 2020

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