FinCEN Files: Investigation into Dirty Money Transfers from Major Global Banks

At least $ 2 trillion in suspicious transactions were carried out between 2000 and 2017 by several major global banks. This is what an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, made up of 400 journalists from the media in 88 countries, including the investigation units of Radio France and the newspaper Le Monde, reveals.
For their investigation, ICIJ journalists were able to obtain "suspicious activity reports". These are top-secret documents that US bank internal compliance officials send to US financial intelligence agencies when they detect questionable money transfers.

According to these documents, 2,000 billion dollars in suspicious transactions may have been carried out. It is dirty money linked to drugs, corruption, organized crime and terrorism.

Large banks are singled out like JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Bank of New York Mellon or HSBC. They ensure, however, that they make significant efforts to combat financial crime an…

Prince taken at his own game: Covid-19 and oil fall threaten the Saudi economy

Some regret the time of the old Saudi generation, more concerned with international and especially regional balances. What could be worse for an economy than the Covid-19? In the case of a country deriving a non-negligible part of its oil revenues, we could add to this the drop recorded by the international price of a barrel, which even reached its historic low on the day of April 20 ( at -38.94 dollars in New York!). The penalty is even triple for Saudi Arabia, which in addition must renounce the budget contribution of Umrah, simply suspended since February 27, while waiting for the Hajj to follow, whose cancellation is said to be in the pipe . It is an understatement, therefore, that the Gulf country is going through its most serious crisis in its almost nonagenarian history - Ibn Saud founded the modern Saudi state in 1932.
Covid-19 and oil fall threaten the Saudi economy

And for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular, who has been the real holder of power in Riyadh since his father Salman's accession to the throne in January 2015, things are even more difficult. Because it must be remembered that he assumes part of the responsibility for the destabilization of the oil market, following his decision to engage in a price war with Russia, which had made the choice to leak its oil to make drop the price of a barrel and thus no longer allow American producers to be at their own expense, insofar as the extraction of shale oil invested by them requires more money - around 25 dollars per barrel to be profitable , against only 3 dollars for example for Saudi “normal” oil.

The Middle East Eye electronic newspaper even reported on a heated telephone exchange on March 6 between the so-called "MBS" and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was only following Donald Trump's personal intermediation that Riyadh and Moscow, adding the OPEC countries, finally agreed on April 12 to tune their violins; insufficient, therefore, to prevent the collapse of prices. And if ben Salmane can still boast of the support of the tenant of the White House, who even called him a “friend” on Twitter on April 2 despite the ravages of his conflict with Mr. Putin in the sector oil of his country, it is different with the rest of the American political class, which by the voice of certain senators even threatened it of reprisals.

"These kinds of actions are not easily forgotten," said North Dakota Republican Senator Kevin Cramer on April 11, following talks of more than two hours with the Saudi Minister of Energy. , Abdelaziz ben Salmane. In any event, oil prices will end well, barring a nuclear disaster, by going up, and Saudi Arabia can all the more count on the currency mattress accumulated since the oil shock of October 1973 - some 500 billion dollars worth today-; however, Ben Salmane's diplomatic choices are more than ever in question.

Already in the eye of the storm due to the humanitarian crisis caused by his war against the Houthis in Yemen and especially following the case of the assassination by his services, in October 2018, of the journalist and opponent Jamal Khashoggi, the figure of the Saudi dynast continues to fuel controversy, and some regret the time of the older generation, more concerned with international and especially regional balances: despite otherwise profound differences, Saudi Arabia was never went for example to decree a blockade of Qatar like the one in progress since June 4, 2017.

According to rumors, ben Salmane even plans to make his Qatari neighbor an island by digging a canal around it. Morocco also knows something about the new way of doing things in Riyadh, it which had rightly preferred to adopt a position of “constructive neutrality” in its conflict with Qatar and which has since been criticized through it in particular media attacks by the Saudi channel Al-Arabiya: the latter portrayed, in a recent report, the Kingdom as a country at war with the Covid-19, after having committed a similar sequence a year earlier taking up the cause of the Polisario.

As a reminder, the animosity of Saudi Arabia had reached such a point with regard to Morocco that Saudi officials had disbursed out of their own pockets during 2018 to deprive it of the organization of the 2026 Football World Cup for the benefit of Canada, the United States and Mexico. In terms of “Arab” solidarity, we will certainly have known better.