FinCEN: Depository institutions played critical role in tracking Russian activity

In a report today, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said it was able to identify tens of billions of dollars in suspicious activity by Russian oligarchs thanks in large part to filings from U.S. depository institutions. The agency examined Bank Secrecy Act reports from March to October involving Russian oligarchs, high-ranking officials and sanctioned individuals. It identified 454 reports detailing suspicious activity, including the movement of funds around the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February, the purchase of high-value goods and the movement of accounts from Russia to other countries.

FinCEN noted that 78% of the 454 BSA reports were filed by depository institutions. Other types of financial institutions—such as holding companies or financial technology companies—submitted roughly 19% of reports, mainly on suspicious electronic funds transfers or wire transfers and suspicions concerning the source of funds.

“BSA reporting provides substantial support for U.S. government efforts to track, freeze and seize assets of Russian oligarchs, elites and their proxies,” said FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das. “These targets tend to be extremely sophisticated at money laundering and illicit finance, and the U.S. government will continue to leverage BSA reporting to investigate and counter their illicit networks. This financial trend analysis is just another reminder of the critical role that financial institutions play in helping protect the U.S. financial system from illicit activities.”