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…

Automobile: the puzzle of a green recovery

Reserve aid for electric vehicles would not have been enough to protect the industry from a wave of bankruptcies. It remains to be seen whether the extension of the bonus will be enough to preserve the market share of battery-powered vehicles, which reached almost 10% in the first four months of 2020.
Automobile: the puzzle of a green recovery

NGOs have not failed to step up to the plate on the support plan for the auto sector, which is to be announced this afternoon. "The government must clearly rule out the option of yet another scrapping bonus for thermal vehicles, including the most recent," insisted several of them (Greenpeace, Climate Action Network and Nicolas Hulot Foundation) in a press release common published Monday. "If public aid can encourage the individual purchase of large SUV-type vehicles, even electric or hybrid, it is climate and social nonsense," they continue.

While the health crisis has further increased environmental pressure on the government, supporting both the energy transition and the automotive sector as a whole, however, was a big deal. Stakeholders in the sector have been reminded of this: bankruptcies are already threatening among distributors, who are collapsing with stocks and alone represent 200,000 jobs in France.

Considerable public money

However, according to the data transmitted by the National Center of the automobile professions CNPA), the stocks are made up to 52% of diesel vehicles, to 44% of gasoline vehicles and 4% of vehicles with batteries (100% electric or plug-in hybrids). Not to mention the production lines, which are still largely dimensioned today to manufacture thermal vehicles.

To reserve the premiums for the acquisition with only lithium ion was thus likely not to solve the problem of the sector in very short term. Some are even skeptical of the medium-term effort. "The public money spent on the electric vehicle is considerable, and despite all the buyers remain reluctant: the electric vehicle is still not competitive," said director of the Cetelem automotive observatory, Flavien Neuvy.

Sales nevertheless progressed well at the start of the year. With 29,000 electric cars sold between January and April 2020, to which are added nearly 10,000 plug-in hybrids (80% more than last year), battery vehicles represented 9.6% of the market over the first four months of the year. However, an atypical period: having this year CO2 objectives to meet, manufacturers tended to slow sales at the end of 2019 and to push them at the start of 2020, in particular by building up stocks at dealerships.

Market share close to 10%

The health crisis, which caused a market drop of 90% in France in April, did not change this market share. The coronavirus had already led the executive to postpone from March 31 to June 15 the fall in the purchase bonus, planned for company vehicles (from 6,000 to 3,000 euros). "We strongly campaigned for companies to recover this bonus: they represent more than 50% of sales," said Avere-France general delegate Cécile Goubet.

Will the measures announced on Tuesday by Emmanuel Macron be sufficient to really boost sales? Despite the public effort, the obstacles to buying will not disappear overnight. Even raised to 8,000 euros, the bonus will apply to vehicles billed at least 25,000 euros, which is far from the reach of all budgets. Fears over the autonomy and inadequacy of the charging network, especially in condominiums, remain. In addition, the impact of the health crisis remains uncertain. "The fall in fuel prices will increase the cost gap with thermal vehicles," worries Cécile Goubet. Without public support, the risk of falling sales of battery-powered cars was in any case very real.