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U.S. Says Belarusian Bank 'Of Primary Money-Laundering Concern'

WASHINGTON -- The United States has identified the Belarusian-based JSC CredexBank, or Credex, as an institution of "primary money-laundering concern."

A U.S. Treasury Department statement said the bank was "engaged in high volumes of transactions that are indicative of money laundering on behalf of shell corporations and has a history of ownership by shell corporations."

"In one two-month period in 2010, Credex facilitated at least $1 billion in U.S.-dollar-denominated wire transfers to hundreds of foreign shell corporations in high-risk jurisdictions," U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen told reporters in a conference call in Washington.

"There was evasive conduct in a significant portion of these transactions, such as not identifying the real beneficiary of the transaction."

The Treasury Department has also proposed a ban on U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining accounts for the bank.

Founded in 2001, Credex is currently the 22nd-largest among 31 commercial banks in Belarus, according to the U.S. statement.

While its branches are all in Belarus, it has one representative office in the Czech Republic and maintains "correspondent relationships" with Russian, Latvian, German, and Austrian banks.
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