Big Banks Laundered Money for Mexican Drug Gangs

Wachovia handled $378.4 billion in drug money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2010 11:56 AM CDT
Big Banks Laundered Money for Mexican Drug Gangs
The corporate headquarters of Wachovia is shown in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Some of the biggest banks in the US have been helping to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to Mexican drug gangs, Bloomberg reports. Wachovia, for example, has admitted in court that it didn’t do enough to spot the $378.4 billion in drug money the cartels handed off through it from 2004 to 2007—which happens to be the biggest money laundering violation in US history.

The head of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit says he quit last year because executives repeatedly ignored evidence of drug money flowing through the bank. “If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed” in Mexico’s drug wars “you’re missing the point,” he says. And Wachovia’s not alone. Bank of America, HSBC, and other institutions have also handled drug money, though they haven’t be accused of wrongdoing. (More Mexican drug cartel stories.)

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