The “Troika Laundromat” scandal is spreading across Europe and the US, implicating a long list of banks and financial institutions that were allegedly involved in the illicit flow of billions from Russia.
According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP),
“Laundromats are complex systems for moving money that allow corrupt politicians, organized crime figures, and wealthy business people to secretly invest their ill-gotten millions, launder money, evade taxes, and fulfill other goals.”
To pull off the financial shenanigans – cooking books and fudging figures – officials at some of the world’s leading banks turned a blind eye, effectively facilitating illegal transactions behind closed doors.
According to a report by Business Insider, investigators at the OCCRP claim they have evidence to support that the Troika Laundromat was powered by a long list of enablers. The scheme reportedly started at Troika Dialog, Russia’s largest private investment bank.
- ING, one of the largest banks in The Netherlands: “hundreds of million of euros” passed through
- Raiffeisen Bank International, Austrian lender
- Nordea Bank, Finnish lender
- Deutsche Bank, German lender
- Danske Bank, Danish lender
- Ukio Bank, Lithuanian lender
The Guardian reports that Citigroup and a charity run by Prince Charles have also been implicated in the Russian-led money-laundering network that was comprised of 70 offshore companies with accounts in Lithuania.
The OCCRP worked with journalists at the The Guardian and Lithuanian news site 15min.lt to release their findings. The reports peg the Troika Laundromat’s years of operation from 2003 to 2017 with dirty money totaling anywhere from $4 billion to $9 billion.
Tom Keatinge, a money-laundering expert at the Royal United Services Institute think tank says,
“The stream of scandals coming out of the Baltic states is remorseless. This is a systemic weakness in the global financial system that has been exploited primarily across the former Soviet states.”
Systemic money laundering schemes and illegal banking practices are nothing new. Last month Deutsche Bank and Danske Bank were embroiled in a money laundering operation that allegedly moved $228 billion.
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