Banamex USA to Forfeit Funds after Money Laundering Probe

One hundred dollar notes are seen in this photo illustration at a bank in Seoul January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
Los Angeles, CA

The U.S. office of one of Mexico’s largest banks agreed to forfeit $97 million in connection with a money laundering investigation into alleged criminal violations.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Banamex USA agreed to forfeiture and a non-prosecution deal where the bank admitted to willful failures to maintain an anti-laundering program.

Mexican drug cartels and other criminal organizations have notoriously used money laundering tactics to hide the illicit nature of their funds. While Banamex USA is based out of Los Angeles, California, and is owned by Citigroup, the name Banamex comes from Banco Nacional de Mexico or Mexican National Bank. As one of Mexico’s oldest commercial banks and is one of that nation’s largest.

According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from 2007 to 2012 Banamex processed more than 30 million transactions to Mexico with an estimated value of $8.8 billion. Out of those operations, Banamex only issued 18,000 alerts for $142 million which could have been laundering transactions.

Out of the 18,000 alerts, the bank only carried out 10 investigations and filed nine reports of possible laundering.

According to prosecutors, the bank admitted that it should have improved their investigation methods but failed to do so.

Earlier this year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced it took action against four former Banamex USA executives, to include fines and prohibitions on future financial industry employment.

In 2015, the FDIC ordered Banamex USA to pay $140 million for a civil penalty related to other investigations.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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