FinCEN Files: Kuwait’s NBK clarifies US authorities have not approached since 2014

Bank says it was cited in $1.3mln of suspicious activity reports, but has not been approached by US authorities since 2014

  
National bank of Kuwait logo, NBK logo, National bank of Kuwait (NBK) logo. Image used for illustrative purpose

National bank of Kuwait logo, NBK logo, National bank of Kuwait (NBK) logo. Image used for illustrative purpose

National bank of Kuwait

National Bank of Kuwait has sought to clarify allegations that it has been named in the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN-USA) files leak, which has exposed $2 trillion in suspicious transactions in the global banking system.

In a disclosure to Boursa Kuwait last night (Tuesday), NBK said many international and domestic banks had been named in the leaked documents, which have made headlines worldwide and been dubbed the FinCEN Files, but that it had not received any approaches from US authorities. 

“We would like to advise that the leaked documents are mainly Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) reported by banks and financial institutions operating in USA to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN-USA) regarding transactions conducted through USA banks.

“Those transactions were suspected to being linked to money laundering or financing of terrorism activities during the period from year 1999 to year 2017 with a total value amounting to $2 trillion.

“Those leaked documents included names of many international and domestic banks, including NBK.”

The bank said the value of transactions related to NBK amount to approximately $1.3 million from 2011 to 2014, or 0.00007 percent of the total amount cited in the files.

“It is worth mentioning that no correspondences or queries have been received by the bank from any supervisory or judicial authorities in USA in this regard since year 2014,” the disclosure continued.

The bank concluded its disclosure by confirming that it adopts strict policies and procedures in implementing anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism rules in lines with instructions issued by local regulatory authorities.

The FinCEN Files leaks have once again thrown the spotlight onto Dubai-based precious metals dealer and refiner Kaloti, which is alleged to have bought gold from criminal networks for money laundering purposes, which was investigated by the USA’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The DEA recommended that the US Treasury issue a warning that it was a ‘primary money laundering concern’, but the investigation was later shelved, and the warning was never issued, according to a report by BBC Panorama.

Kaloti has never been formally investigated by the US Treasury or seen the evidence against them, and vehemently denies any wrongdoing, the BBC said.

The FinCEN Files were first leaked to BuzzFeed news and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and have made global headlines.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Daniel Luiz)

(imogen.lillywhite@refinitiv.com)

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