Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/24/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Wachovia, bought up by Wells Fargo paid fine for money laundering

A former compliance officer with the U.S. bank Wachovia, Martin Woods has seen the Mexican drug war and its illicit money unseen by even the most seasoned observers. Woods started asking questions about billions of dollars pouring into Wachovia accounts in the U.S. from Mexican currency exchanges back in 2006. "I guess what surprised me most was my own naďveté . I aggravated my own employers (by bringing forward evidence of laundering) and also the regulators themselves."

Money laundered in the U.S. in turn flows back into Mexico, where cartels use it to pay underlings, bribe politicians, invest in legitimate businesses and purchase raw product.

Money laundered in the U.S. in turn flows back into Mexico, where cartels use it to pay underlings, bribe politicians, invest in legitimate businesses and purchase raw product.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/24/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Money laundering, Mexican drug war, Wachovia, Welss Fargo


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Wachovia, currently owned by Wells Fargo, settled out of court for the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act in U.S. history in 2010, paying a fine of $160 million for laundering a staggering $378.4 billion from Mexican currency exchange houses between the years 2004 and 2007.

The majority of the cash is believed to be drug money, moved without proper documentation from Casa's de Cambio in Mexico to U.S. banks.

"There was no consequence for anyone dealing with that money. Some other compliance officers broke the rules and they kept their jobs. I obeyed all the rules, blew the whistle and lost my job," Woods says.

This is a side of the Mexican drug war that few people see. Ever since Mexican President Felipe Calderon used his nation's military against the drug cartels, an estimated body count has soared past 50,000 people dead.

Public beheadings have become commonplace and the cartels have brazenly gunned down unarmed civilians in public. Financial analysts, then say there is no exaggeration in accusing bankers of laundering blood money for international assassins.

"The whole point of being a drug dealer is money," Heather Lowe, a Washington-based lawyer with Global Financial Integrity says. "Identifying and stopping that money flow is crucial."

The U.N. Organization on Drugs and Crime estimates that illegal narcotics represent the world's third-biggest export, after oil and the arms trade, worth more than $300 billion annually.

"You have these horrendous crimes being committed, people being shot 10, 20 or 30 at a time," Walter MacKay, a former Canadian police officer who has trained Mexican security forces says. "This dirty money washing through economies just exacerbates everything," he told Al Jazeera.

Illicit drug sales in the United States generate annual revenues between $18 billion and $39 billion, according to the U.S. Justice Department's Federal Bureau of Investigation. The money in turn flows back into Mexico, where cartels use it to pay underlings, bribe politicians, invest in legitimate businesses and purchase raw product.

Most tragically, the "war on drugs" doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon. Many analysts believe the military solution isn't working as violence is increasing. Some policy experts and forensic accountants believe tracking money earned by cartels, along with waging a PR campaign to tackle the demand side of the equation in the U.S., is the best in a series of bad options.

"In order to weaken organized crime, it is far safer and more effective in the long run to erode its financial base," Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas program of the International Relations Centre in Mexico City says.

Currency exchange houses, like the ones used by Wachovia, are probably the most common way for cartels to launder funds. Traffickers normally "contract with money brokers to use their networks of bank accounts and business connections to structure large sums for transport across the border"; former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told a gathering at Woodrow Wilson Center said.

.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Americas

A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary statue with single red tear sparks mass pilgrimage Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Images of a Virgin Mary statue with a single red 'tear' streaming down her face has spread rampant through social media prompting hundreds of pilgrims to visit the statue in Columbia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The statue located in Floridablanca, Columbia is ... continue reading


Venezuela's collapse is a warning to Americans enamored with socialism Watch

Image of Socialism is a quick way to go hungry.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The world is hardly paying attention, but the nation of Venezuela is in full-collapse. Its economy has imploded, and its politics are in turmoil. The nation is beset with shortages of critical goods, and the beer supply has run out. Soldiers patrol the streets, tasked ... continue reading


EQUALITY: Sex-crazed Olympians will receive and use 350,000 male condoms and 100,000 female condoms! Watch

Image of Olympic athletes have been encouraged to practice safe sex in Rio de Janeiro (Sify).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a shocking move, Olympic organizers have decided to distribute 450,000 condoms to athletes participating in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the ruse of "equality," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided ... continue reading


Prayer and hugging banned in Colombia Watch

Image of Colombia stuns the world when it announces a prayer and hugging ban (docakilah/Wordpress).

By Walter Snchez Silva (CNA)

In what's been labeled an "absurd" move, a judge in Colombia has banned prayer and "fraternal hugs" at the start of Cartagena city council sessions as well as local educational institutions. Cartagena, Colombia (CNA) - The ban on civic prayer - as well as the baffling ... continue reading


Student discovers lost Mayan city, but archaeologists insist it's not there. Isn't that the point of a lost city? Watch

Image of William Gadoury, thought he discovered a lost Mayan city, but archaeologists say no.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The story of a teen who found a lost Maya city may not be so remarkable after all, as experts studying the claim find that it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. While the teen certainly had good intentions, his lost city may be nothing more than fallow fields. LOS ... continue reading


'El Chapo' transferred - Will he escape again? Watch

Image of El Chapo has been transferred to a prison in Juarez, near the US border (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Notorious drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has been transferred from Altiplano, a maximum-security prison in Central Mexico, to a prison in Ciudad Juarez. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, a senior Mexican law enforcement source stated, "Due to ... continue reading


Cinco de Mayo - What is the day really about? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cinco de Mayo is upon us, and while many believe it is Mexico's Independence Day, it actually is not. So, what is Cinco de Mayo and why has it become so biculturally popular? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - "The significance of Cinco de Mayo is that it ... continue reading


Ecuador quake survivors share powerful stories of survival Watch

Image of The quake was the worst the Andean nation had seen in ten years (Paul Ochoa/Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated sections of Ecuador and left the death count at over 300 people. Over 2,000 destroyed buildings and ruined roads have been reported - and now survivors are sharing their harrowing experiences. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


Previous Argentina President accused of money laundering Watch

Image of Former President of Argentina accused of money laundering (1meee).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After serving her country for eight years, former Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars into oversea accounts. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former president Fernández de Kirchner has ... continue reading


Virgin Mary statue considered in notoriously secular Uruguay Watch

Image of Secular Uruguay debates whether to erect a Virgin Mary statue in a park (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Uruguay is considered a secular country and is known for its refusal to condone religious beliefs of any kind - yet there exists a debate concerning the erection of a Virgin Mary statue. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many in Uruguay stand on the country's ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12
1 From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2
1 [Song of Ascents] I lift up my eyes to you who are enthroned in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 12:18-27
18 Then some Sadducees -- who deny that there is a resurrection -- came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 1st, 2016 Image

St. Justin Martyr
June 1: Christian apologist, born at Flavia Neapolis, ... Read More