If banks, etc. were not complying with the law, there would be no SARs for the journalists to work on
The only reason that there are SARs is because banks, lawyers, car dealers and many more are filling in increasingly complex forms and submitting them.
Where banks have been criticised by regulators and prosecutors, they tend to do something called “remediation.”
Remediation is where a team is dedicated to review files, often many files, to see if any suspicious activities have been missed.
Inevitably, fresh eyes – with the added benefit of freedom from the commercial pressures that would have existed at the time of the transaction – find reports that they consider should have been filed. Often many new SARs are filed.
This should not, in most cases, be considered a failing. But what it does, and which the journalists seem to have missed, is that this results in a concentration of reports and a concentration of amounts to which the reports relate.
So, because the illegally extracted data refers to a period in which several banks were undertaking large scale remediation simultaneously, it is an unrepresentative sample.
They present large numbers, presumably hoping for a public reaction, without explanation.
I could go on and maybe I will add to this article in due course. But I think I’ve made my case.