American Banks 'High' On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme
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Disappointed that the case against Wachovia didn't go to a criminal trial, investigator Woods lamented, "Bankers will continue to take dangerous risks because the deferred prosecution concludes there's no personal consequences for their actions."
"We were hoping the case against Wachovia went to trial because the laundering of drug money was related to organized crime, drug trafficking and thousands of murders in Mexico," he said.
Antoino Maria Costa, former executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in 2008, "there's evidence to suggest that proceeds from drugs and crimes were the only liquid investment capital for banks in trouble of collapsing [during the financial crisis]."
If billions of dollars in drug money rescued banks and other financial institutions from closing down then it's reasonable to argue that the economy itself is addicted to drugs.
As professor Dale Scott noted in his book, American War Machine: Deep Politics; the CIA Global Drug Connection: "A U.S. Senate staff chaired by the banking committee reportedly estimated that between $500 billion and $1 trillion dollars are laundered each year through banks worldwide, with approximately half of that amount funneled through U.S. Banks."
The UK Independent newspaper reported in 2004 that drug trafficking constituted "the third-biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade."
"New York and London are the world's biggest financial institutions for money laundering and offshore tax havens," Woods told this journalist during recent interview. "New York is the global currency for legitimate and criminal business because it is offshore to everywhere. And London is the world's biggest financial center by value and volume."
How Martin Woods Exposed Wachovia's Drug Money Laundering Scheme
Back in 2001, Martin Woods played an instrumental role in helping U.S. authorities to crack a Russian-based money laundering scheme involving Lucy Edwards, Vice President of Bank of New York. Wood's tenacious undercover work led the FBI to charge Edwards and her husband with laundering illegal proceeds for the Russian Mob.
In March 2005, as mentioned earlier, Woods joined the London branch of Wachovia Bank as a senior anti-money laundering officer. Woods strategic M.O. was to safeguard the company from cleverly disguised illegal proceeds by implementing bank policies referred to as "Know Your Client" (KYC).
KYC requires investigators and banking officials to identify dirty money ranging from fraud, tax evasion, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing as the primary target.
Once fraud was detected, Woods was charged with reporting to Wachovia Bank headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. So when the Mexico-based Casa Canbios began sending suspicious funds into the bank, Woods implemented an enhanced transaction monitoring program to retrieve more intricate details on customers making deposits. He struck gold.
Woods identified similar numerous "suspicious transactions" of proceeds deposited into Wachovia banks that was traced back to Casa Cambios in Mexico.
The funds in question were traveler cheques in euros. A close inspection of the cheques showed the lack of "know your client" information and the cheques had no legible signatures.
"It was basic work," Woods later recalled in his whistleblower lawsuit against Wachovia. He pointed out how the Mexico-based CDC failed to answer simple questions: "Is the transaction real? Does the cheques meet the protocols? Is it all there, and if not, why not?"
Prior to Wachovia hiring Martin Woods in 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department had already issued warning alerts to foreign and American-based banks explaining that Mexico-based CDCs were primarily owned by kingpin drug cartel Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman. In 2006, the Feds, working with Mexico identified six CDCs that laundered $120 million dollars in drug money for the Arellano Felix cartel.