The investigation was based on hundreds of pages of confidential files provided by Jonathan Taylor, a former SBM lawyer turned whistle-blower. The documents include emails, contracts, legal advice and corporate intelligence reports. Journalists also had access to hours of secret audio recordings of SBM crisis meetings.
Twenty-four Kenyan financial institutions were named in the reports as either beneficiaries’ banks or banks through which companies and individuals made suspicious payments from countries that include the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands and China.
An international team of investigative journalists has uncovered new facts about the lead-up to the explosion, which killed at least 182 people, injured over 6,000 and caused hundreds of thousands to lose their homes.
In the last days of 2008, Erich Rebasso, an Austrian lawyer, sent a letter to the main Vienna headquarters of the Federal Criminal Police, the country’s top law enforcement agency. Its purpose was unusual — the father of four young children was blowing the whistle on himself.
The Laundromat wasn’t just a money laundering system. It was also a hidden investment vehicle, a slush fund, a tax evasion scheme, and much more.
The case of Charterhouse epitomizes the economics of money laundering in Kenya. In 2001, five years before it was finally closed, the bank came into the limelight because of a single transaction.
In a country like Kenya, where state corruption is rife, money stolen from the public coffers by powerful civil servants and those close to power, invariably ends up stashed in foreign offshore accounts