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The narcosphere


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The narcosphere

  1. 1. The NarcosphereBanks Are "Where the Money Is" In the Drug WarPosted by Bill Conroy - December 1, 2012 at 9:00 pmBig Lenders Face Few Hard Consequences for Violating Anti-Money Laundering LawsCitigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wachovia (acquired by Wells Fargo in 2009), HSBC Holdings, INGBank, Standard Chartered, American Express Bank International, and not a few others, have a commonbond beyond ranking among the largest banks in the world. All have been accused within the past five years (and several this year) of failing to comply with US anti-money laundering laws — thereby enabling, collectively, hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth ofsuspicious transactions to move through the banking system absent adequate monitoring or oversight.Yet not one these banks, nor any of their top executives, has been hit with criminal sanctions. All, with the exception of Britain’s HSBC (which is still under investigation), have agreed to pay fines fortheir alleged transgressions after being served cease-and-desist orders or have entered into so-calleddeferred-prosecution pacts — under which a lender agrees to pay a fine and to comply with the lawgoing forward in exchange for dismissal of all charges at the end of a specified government monitoringperiod. But again, not one bank has been charged with a crime nor have any top executives been forced to dothe perp walk, bound by handcuffs, in front of the adoring media throng. Imagine if you or I were pulled over by the cops while transporting in the trunk of our car even $10,000in bills that traced back to individuals suspected of being involved in illegal activities, such as narco-trafficking. What are the odds that we would walk away with only a traffic ticket? That’s essentially what is happening in these cases involving big banks, who, for all practical purposes,are allowing their money transportation systems to be rented, for a fee, by criminals, while the banks’leadership pleads ignorance: “I didn’t know that money was in the trunk. I’ll have to look into that.” Now, if you take that same $10,000, or even millions of dollars, and put it inside an armored car undercontract to a big bank, suddenly the dirty money gains the presumption of legitimate commerce, and islikely to have a police escort as opposed to being subjected to a police inspection.
  2. 2. “All financial crime has a money laundering component,” says Charles A. Intriago, president of theMiami-based Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists. “… If you’re an individual, and getcaught, you get hammered. “But if you’re a big bank, and you’re caught moving money for a terrorist or drug dealer, you don’t haveto worry. You just fork over a monetary penalty, and then raise your fees to make up for it.“Until we see bankers walking off in handcuffs to face charges in these cases, nothing is going tochange,” Intriago adds. “These monetary penalties are just a cost of doing business to them, like payingfor a new corporate jet.”CommentaryNo Bank is isolated from the lure of millions of dollars in additional profits. Stanford Bank and its NarcoBanking connections is what provided mounds of cash that fueled the attitude that somehow they wereabove the law. As the profits and lose money increased so did the different warning indicators thatsomething was not quite right with the system and numbers being generated. It’s the same for theBanks here in the Dutch Antilles. With the vacuum that the closing of Stanford Bank and its multi- BillionDollar money laundering operation caused, that need is now looking for willing and ACCEPTABLE Banksto accommodate its need to blend in. If you think your money is safe just ask around your circle offriends in your community and you’ll find out many lost thousands in the downfall of the Stanford Bank.There are multiple investigations going on with multiple agencies all over the Caribbean as that Carteldrug money and Politics to find it are in play. People looking to put feathers in their caps to feed egosare mixed with genuine desires to root out this flow of Contraband and money laundering thatcontaminates the system here. Great Britain’s HSBC recently paid a hefty fine for their involvement.Keep in mind the Banks in the Caribbean are at best fledging Institutions where just a hint of aninvestigation or impropriety could create quite a commotion.Here in the Dutch Antillesthere is little protection of funds like that of the US so any loss by the Bank isnot necessarily covered by the larger Banking system. These private Bankers if they are like Stanford areimmediately securing any substantial money that enters their coffers and sending that off to anotherlocation where it cannot be reached by law enforcement always giving the impression that your depositsare safe and growing. Again just ask your neighbors how safe their Stanford deposits ended up being.