Three large banks and two money transmitters accused of financing terorrism in Afghanistan

In August 2021, the families of Americans killed and wounded during the war in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2016 sued Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Danske Bank, Wall Street Express and Placid Exchange for “knowingly facilitated transfers of millions” of dollars that provided aid to terrorists in Afghanistan.
Aymeric Boëlle

According to the Plaintiffs, the FIs Aided and Abetted Acts of Terrorist Violence Against Americans in Afghanistan

In, Ashley v. Deutsche Bank AG, 12-cv-04400, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), plaintiffs claim that defendants acted as “laundromats,” defined as a bank or money remitter that operates as a criminal enterprise by knowingly profiting from transactions that help terrorists.  

According to the lawsuit, the laundromats allowed terrorist financiers to secretly move money and evade detection. Further, transactions involving syndicate agents, operatives and fronts in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and the United Arab Emirates raised red flags that they were dealing with terrorist money.

The plaintiffs further claimed that such funds benefited al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, an extreme faction of the Taliban.  Finally, the complaint seeks unspecified money damages which could reach into the billions of dollars.

Using Complex Schemes

According to The New York Times, the complainants say the financial institutions’ treatment of some of their clients indicated that they understood how their services were connected to illegal activities.  

Deutsche Bank, the suit alleges, charged higher-than-normal rates to move money around the world for some of its clients, including a Pakistani man whom OFAC had flagged as a money launderer for terrorists. OFAC said in 2016 that the man, Altaf Khanani, laundered money for drug traffickers and other criminal organisations.

Another press report indicates that Deutsche Bank used a complex series of stock trades in the U.S. and Russia, called mirror trades, that allowed Khanani to move money across the world on behalf of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Standard Chartered is also accused of having financed fertilizer manufacturers in Pakistan that are said to have supported terror groups in Afghanistan in the manufacture of bombs.

While we have no opinion on the outcome of this matter, at Ondorse, we believe that the vast majority of money is laundered through shell companies hidden in vast networks of interconnected companies which can be unveiled thanks to complete and always up-to-date data on companies.

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