London–Standard Chartered has issued the following statement in response to media stories linked to suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN):
We file SARs when circumstances warrant and that means our screening and monitoring systems are working as intended. A SAR filing does not mean there has been criminal activity. We file a SAR when we have identified something suspicious or irregular in a transaction that meets the filing requirements in the local market. We report these matters to law enforcement so they can investigate and, if they see fit, take further action. We seek to work actively with law enforcement on priority areas, and in higher risk cases have restricted or exited clients.
The reality is that there will always be attempts to launder money and evade sanctions; the responsibility of banks is to build effective screening and monitoring programmes to protect the global financial system. We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes.
Standard Chartered has nearly 2,000 staff worldwide dedicated to preventing, detecting and reporting suspicious transactions. In 2019 we monitored more than 1.2 billion transactions for potential suspicious activity and screened more than 157 million for sanctions compliance. Our monitoring and investigations work has contributed to the conviction of criminals and our efforts have been recognised by law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions