The banking cartel industries have worked recklessly to get the profits that they and their shareholders seek. Wachovia (now a division of Wells Fargo) has been the latest to get its cards revealed. It turned a blind eye to the near $400 billion in “unmonitored funds being channeled to accounts at the bank between 2004 and 2007 by currency exchange houses in Mexico, mostly through wire transfers”, according to Reuters. This money was tracked and discovered that it was tied to Mexican and Colombian drug cartel operations. This oversight has led to a violation of the US Bank Secrecy Act.
All of this should lead to a hefty fine, right? No, they’ve agreed to pay over a sum of $156 million dollars summoned by the US Justice Department. That’s peanuts to the hundred of millions they probably earned monthly off the interest of that blood money! What’s worse is that evidence shows that Wachovia had been aware of these drug transactions for over a decade:
Investigators said that although Wachovia had been aware since 1996 and through 2004 of the high risk that drugs money was being laundered through the Mexican currency exchange houses, it expanded its business with them, and failed to implement monitoring procedures as required under law.
And if that isn’t enough, the US Justice Department will give them a whole year of time to get into compliment with the anti-money laundering (AML) procedures. Once implemented, all charges will be dropped. What a slap in the face. Get caught holding the cat in the bag? No problem. No one will face jail time. No one loses their position. Just pay them a few million, and they’ll drop the charges.
Who’s to Blame?
We’re disappointed in Wachovia, but we’re aware that this is the natural character of big banks: money at all costs. What we’re more disappointed in is the fact that there aren’t steeper penalties in place to curb this behavior. Which lobbyist on behalf of Wachovia managed to have the US Justice Department turn a blind eye to these illegal dealings and then convince them to implement mild penalties if they’re caught? Mexico and Colombia are more unstable than ever. Millions are dying, and the corruption continues. Yet, these banks live to steal another day. Simply put, we’re not impressed nor convinced by this measly slap-on-the wrist fine, which basically encourages Wachovia and other banks to be more discreet in stashing their drug money.
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