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Article

Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal

Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers...Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S..."It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy," says Martin Woods, [former director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit]...“If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods says...Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine...Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts...Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at London-based HSBC Holdings Plc...Those two banks weren’t accused of wrongdoing. Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton and HSBC spokesman Roy Caple say laws bar them from discussing specific clients. They say their banks strictly follow the government rules...To make their criminal enterprises work, the drug cartels of Mexico need to move billions of dollars across borders...[Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez] says. [also refers to Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc., American Express Bank International]