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A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) into the recently leaked FinCEN files has shown that two branches of international banks operating in the Maldives were used in the transfer of suspicious payments. 

The files showed that the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and the State Bank of India (SBI) branches in the Maldives received USD 501,359 in total as part of 18 transactions. 

Six of these transactions involved the HSBC, amounting to a total of USD 204,431 while 12 transactions involving the SBI, amounted up to USD 296,928. 

A screengrab of the report by the ICIJ into the FinCEN files.

The transfers were made between 2015 and 2017, according to the report. The transfers were made by the China Investment Corporation (CIC) through the VP Bank AG, operating from Lichtenstein. 

The CIC was founded in 2007 as a company to diversify China’s foreign exchange holdings and seek maximum returns for its shareholder within acceptable risk tolerance. The company had a registered capital of $200 billion when it was established.

CIC has three subsidiaries, CIC International Co., Ltd. (CIC International), CIC Capital Corporation (CIC Capital), and Central Huijin Investment Ltd. (Central Huijin).

State Bank of India (SBI) Male’ office. (File Photo/Sun/Mohamed Afrah)

No banks or branches of banks operating in the Maldives were named in the report as involved in sending payments. 

The FinCEN Files is a leak of secret documents that reveal how major banks have allowed criminals to move dirty money around the world. 

The files include more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs), filed by financial institutions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency, or FinCEN. They also include 17,641 records obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and other sources.

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