One of largest banks in the US, Wachovia Corporation, “admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007,” reports Bloomberg writer Michael Smith.
USA and Europe’s biggest banks and financial institutions are handling money from the Mexican drug cartels which export hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines into the US, in a business generating US$39 billion a year.
Banks and institutions involved in handling the money include Bank of America, Wachovia Corporation (now owned by Wells Fargo & Co.), American Express Bank, Western Union, London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, and Mexican units of Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc. and HSBC.
“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.,” writes Smith. “In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid-June.”