Wachovia laundered money for Mexican drug cartel

Something you won’t find in the local daily today: The Observer reported in its Sunday edition that Wachovia Bank laundered billions of dollars for the Mexican drug lords. A 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts—at time violence along the US-Mexican border was igniting.

In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. It paid federal authorities $110 million in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50 million fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

Wachovia has since merged with Wells Fargo.

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