Money Launderers’ Bank Facilitation

May 26, 2017 Crime , OPINION/NEWS


Ricardo Swire


Erudite criminal characters partner with select international banking executives and corporate community elements to successfully launder large cash amounts, legitimate fronts recirculating underworld profits.

A May 22, 2017 US Department of Justice (DOJ) Asset Forfeiture Fund and United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) Research Report reflected strong concerns about America’s low one percent law enforcement detection of illegal fortunes earned annually by global drug cartels.

In 2008 Chief of the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) stated he had explicit evidence that solidified the money launderer/banker relationship. The UN’s senior official reported; “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade.” A DOJ document cited confession from Citigroup subsidiary Banamex USA, headquartered at 2029 Century Park E #42 Los Angeles, California.

Banamex USA admitted to “criminal violations by wilfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program.” According to 2005 World Bank figures Mexico’s remittances valued US$8.1 billion that year. In 2006 Banamex USA expanded its remittance services. Between 2007 and 2012 eighteen thousand internal alarms, related to suspicious transactions with Mexico valued US$142 million, were raised. As a result Citigroup decision makers scheduled Banamex USA’s liquidation for June 2017.

Between 2003 and 2008 another financial institution Wachovia committed the biggest infringement of the Bank Secrecy Act, a tenant of Anti-Money Laundering Law. Wachovia exchanged US$378.4 billion to Mexican currency, utilizing Casas De Cambio (CDCs) or currency exchange houses in Mexico. The amount equalled one third Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period. Drug cartels took advantage of Wachovia’s substandard Know Your Client/Customer (KYC) policy.

KYC data assists with identification of dirty money, tax evasion, terrorist financing and laundering patterns. KYC is usually supported by a bank’s internal “Enhanced Transaction Monitoring Program (ETMP)” that registers euros and sterling currencies. In August 2006 Wachovia’s ETMP highlighted fifty suspicious transactions, with CDCs in Mexico.

Euro Travelers Cheques were deposited in Wachovia without KYC information. Large amounts with sequential numbers, affixed with ambiguous signatures. In July 2007 US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Division focused on wire transfers from Mexico to America. Suspicious CDC correspondent bank accounts, managed by Wachovia’s Miami office, were flagged.

In July 2007 ten Wachovia’s Mexican CDC clients, operating through London, suddenly ended relationships. By 2010 bogus identities had successfully wired US$13 million, via Wachovia correspondent bank accounts. The cash used to purchase planes for drug-trafficking organizations. Aircraft that transported more than twenty thousand kilos of seized cocaine.

2012 US court pleadings exposed British multinational bank HSBC. The institution admittedly laundered a minimum US$900 million for Colombian and Mexican Cartels. Since 2006 more than twelve banks paid sizeable DOJ settlements to avoid formal prosecution for money laundering breaches. American Express Bank International admitted drug cash, worth more than US$55 million, was laundered via offshore shell accounts.

The DOJ possess similar confessions from Barclays and Scotland Chartered, Union Bank of California, Lloyds, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary ABN Amro Holding. In October 2015 America’s Treasury Department and the DOJ indicted Honduran corporate giant Grupo Continental’s Banco Continental top executives, for money laundering and drugs trafficking, quoting sections of the Kingpin Act. The Honduran financial institution was used to clean cash for Central American traffickers.





Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.


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