As Congress trains its eyes once again on money laundering, the booming niche business of international funds transfer is suddenly under intense scrutiny.

The technology-intensive business of moving large sums among correspondent banks and their customers is dominated by a short list of banks. Among them: Chase Manhattan Corp., Republic New York Corp., Citigroup Inc.'s Citibank unit, Bank of America Corp., and Bank of New York Co. The current probe, along with congressional hearings that got under way Tuesday, was sparked by questions about Bank of New York's alleged role as a conduit for moving as much as $10 billion out of Russia on behalf of customers who may have had links to organized crime.

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