Recent allegations that European banks have handled large volumes of suspicious transactions, often involving parties from the former Soviet Union, draws attention to hard-to-detect trade-based money laundering (TBML) according to a recently published report.

The report’s authors – investigative journalists at the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) – have made the most recent laundering allegations public in a study of what they call the Troika Laundromat.

Banks’ involvement

The study by OCCRP, a non-profit focused on investigative journalism, describes the laundromat as a network of offshore companies allegedly linked to the now defunct Troika Dialog investment bank in the Russian capital, Moscow.

These companies reportedly moved billions of dollars through accounts at a Lithuanian bank using trade-based strategies, often on the back of fictitious trade deals according to the OCCRP.

Clearly TBML

It says that leaked documents show the bogus deals were invoiced variously as “goods,” “food goods,” “metal goods,” “bills,” and “auto parts” and that all the invoices included in the leak were signed by proxies and sent from email addresses.

If the allegations prove correct, the OCCRP concludes that such transactions would clearly be defined as TBML.

More details on OCCRP’s investigations into the so-called Troika Laundromat can be found here.