14 Feb 2020
Bahrain launched legal proceedings on Thursday against a number of individuals and businesses involved in a vast money laundering scheme linked to state-owned Iranian banks.
The operation allowed Iranian organizations, including some sanctioned for terror financing, to secretly move money internationally, the Kingdom’s prosecutors said.
Billions of dollars were funneled through Future Bank, which was based in Bahrain but set up and controlled by Iran’s Bank Saderat and Bank Melli.
The defendants are charged with multiple offences under Bahrain’s anti-money laundering and banking laws, the state Bahrain News Agency reported.
Future Bank, which was shut down in 2016, engaged in “systemic and wide scale violations of Bahrain’s banking laws,” the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) said, referring to a 2018 report.
Further investigations found the bank, acting under the direction of Bank Saderat and Bank Melli, to have executed thousands of international financial transactions worth $7 billion while concealing the involvement of Iranian entities.
Staff deliberately removed information when transferring money via the SWIFT network – an illicit practice referred to as “wire stripping”.
Another technique involved a covert messaging service as an alternative to SWIFT, which concealed transactions from Bahraini regulators.
Read more at Arab News
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