Anti-corruption group Open Secrets said at this stage it’s unclear how deeply some South African banks may be implicated in economic crime.
This comes as leaked secret US government documents reveal how major international banks are helping launder money in the illicit economy.
The FINCEN files also show more than two-trillion dollars of transactions between 1999 and 2017.
According to the group’s researcher Mamello Mosiana, an investigation like this plays a crucial role.
“It shows the private sector’s deep-seated role in global financial crime. And it shows how deep-seated and central they are to the money-laundering schemes. And the fact that they are not actually reporting these crimes as they should be.”
Mosiana accused banks of not doing anything to address the problem.
“They are not freezing these accounts. They know that these are suspicious people, but over and over again they are letting it go because they make a profit. Even when they do get caught, the punishment rarely fits the crime. We have seen in South Africa the banks here have claimed themselves to be victims of state capture, while they have facilitated that state capture and have made a lot of money from it,” said Mosiana.