Which banks can you trust?
Some of the most important banks in the world are now facing growing scrutiny over possible ties to foreign money laundering and tax evasion.
Bank of America Corp., U.S. Bank Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Barclays Plc, UBS AG and Barclays AG are among the banks being investigated by U.K. regulators and the U.N. International Monetary Fund for allegedly taking money out of a Cayman Islands bank account linked to a Russian criminal group that laundered millions of dollars for Russia’s government.
Analysts say the U,S.
and New York banks have been among the biggest beneficiaries of lax oversight in a global system where many jurisdictions have tightened their borders to curb corruption and money laundering.
Bank officials have said the money came from a U. S. bank account in Panama and then was transferred to a Caymans bank account.
The U.s. and Caymans governments have denied any wrongdoing.
But in recent months, the UBS Group AG and UBS Holdings plc have been caught by the Uneventful U. s.
Attorney’s Office in New York City investigating possible money laundering related to the account.
That probe is continuing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Barclays, U.k. officials say, has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but the U-S.
government has been trying to bring charges.
The New York Department of Financial Services has opened a criminal probe into whether UBS, Barclays and others could have committed fraud in connection with a failed U.A.E. bank.
UBS said on Tuesday it was cooperating with the U.-S.
Barclays declined to comment.
U.B.S.’s investigation is focused on how it has dealt with the alleged fraud and has not linked UBS or any other bank with money laundering, a spokeswoman said.
Barclays said on its website that the UB investigation is not linked to the US. investigation and that the bank has taken the necessary steps to mitigate any possible impact to the market.
Bankers have long said they worry about being accused of money laundering if they fail to report suspicious transactions.
“We are not the ones who are to blame, they are the ones that are to be held accountable,” said Peter McArdle, the former head of the Financial Conduct Authority, a regulator in London that probes suspicious activity.
“It is a very big risk.”