Fight against dirty money falters in blizzard of SARs

Authorities are swamped with suspicious activity reports, many of which are never investigated

A leaked trove of secret bank documents – known as the FinCEN files – shows how some of the world’s largest financial institutions were party to billions of dollars of shady transactions over the last decade. At least, that’s the narrative in the flurry of international press reports covering September’s bombshell revelations.

The explosive ingredient in the exposé is thousands of suspicious activity reports, or SARs. Banks routinely file these reports to government agencies to flag irregular

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