Woods was told by Wachovia’s head of compliance that his latest SAR [Suspicious Activity Report] need not have been filed, that he had no legal requirement to investigate an overseas case and no right of access to documents held overseas from Britain, even if they were held by Wachovia.
“Wachovia handled all the transfers. They never reported any as suspicious.”
The truth about money laundering is while it only makes the papers now and again, it is a large part of normal everyday banking. It is business as normal for banks. Nearly all the large banks do it. American Express Bank International was caught laundering Mexican drug money twice in the recent past. In 1994 they were found guilty and fined. The bank ‘promised’ not to do it again and with that feather light touch, were allowed to carry on as normal. But sadly the bank did do it again. From 1998 till 2004 the bank was busy making profits from laundering – again. Once again the bankers promised – double promised, crossed their hearts – again the bank walked away and a year later the entire thing was wiped off their record so they could be sold as an upright AAA rated concern to Standard Chartered, for $823 million.
Another huge American bank Citi went one better than its rivals and simply bought a bank that laundered money – Banamex. Of course Citi had already been indicted itself for laundering. But it makes sense to get local experts as well, I suppose. The sordid Citi story is well known.
I find it odd that people, I can only really speak of Britain but I cannot believe the same is not generally true, have and accept the concept of ‘institutionally racist’, for example. We accept that one can talk about a culture within an organization. It is not to say that every person in that organization shares the ‘culture’ equally, but that there are a set of norms and practices which are prevalent and have the support of the hierarchy of the organization. In Britain, government and the law have taken action against what was deemed to be a poisonous culture of racism within an organization – in this case a major Police force in the UK. Yet despite overwhelming evidence that there is a culture of criminality within not just a bank, but within banking as a general enterprise, no one is willing to suggest banks, banking and bankers as a group of people are institutionally corrupt. Why?
Mexico is one place this happens but lest you think Mexico is the only banker’s narco-playground, let’s look at Burma. In Burma it’s gas and heroin. And would you believe it, there are banks around Burma like flies on shit. The main players in Burma are France, the UK, America and Singapore. The big banks are PNB Paribas and JP Morgan.
According to our research, the BNP Paribas branch in Singapore was, and may still be, not only the depository bank of the project but also the primary bank of the Burmese regime itself. The Burmese peoples’ gas revenue was transferred from BNP Jersey accounts in the BNP Singapore branch to other accounts at the same bank, accounts held by the military regime.
What’s more, BNP Jersey acted as trustee for the military regime, holding at least one account for the regime in BNP Jersey’s own name. That means the Burmese military dictatorship relied on an account in the largest French bank to move its funds – funds which should be benefiting the people of Burma.
Burmese money, in a French Bank, via one of the UK’s Channel Island off-shore, tax havens deposited in Singapore. From BNP in Singapore the money then appears to move to two other big Singapore banks Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation and the DBS Group. My question is why it was left to a small NGO to bring this to light?
But that’s just Burma’s gas. Burma is also one of the world’s largest producers of heroin. Which, of course, the Junta and some of its special friends control and profit from. The question, of course, is where does all the money go? And the answer is Singapore. How it gets there, where it goes next and with whose help, leads us to the behemoth of American banking, JP Morgan.
This story was run by Australian television and The Nation magazine in the US. Despite denials from JP Morgan the story is true. The proof is that JP Morgan was not able to stop The Nation publishing the story nor sue it once it did. It couldn’t because it is true. This is an old story from 1988. I tell you it because, as with Mexico, the drug trade has not gone away and therefore neither have the banks laundering the profits. The bank involved may have changed, though there is no reason to suppose a bank would willingly stop a profitable business arrangement.
The short version of the story goes like this: Singapore is a global banking centre. It is right next to Burma. The Burma junta and powerful drug traffickers have Heroin money. They need a bank to put it in, Singapore has banks, which thoroughly enjoy the flow of cash and doing business with the drug traffickers who have all that money.
The Burmese junta also had a ‘Sovereign Wealth Fund’ called the Myanmar Fund. According to the Nation article,
Singapore’s largest government-controlled financial institution – the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) – is listed in the documents along with Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank (a J.P. Morgan subsidiary separate from the Trust Company) as a core shareholder in the Myanmar Fund.
JP Morgan back when the article was written owned 42% of the Myanmar fund. That is 42% of a fund run by a vicious military dictatorship which deals in Heroin on a global scale. In the War on Drugs whose side, exactly, are JP Morgan on?
The Myanmar fund was registered in – guess where – Jersey, Channel Islands. The trusts registration was done in – Ireland. Jersey and Ireland mean secrecy and tax avoidance. The Singapore government fund GIC is itself secret. It publishes no accounts and has no public oversight despite using public funds. But that is the definition of Singapore. Just weeks after the GIC’s shares in the Myanmar Trust were listed on the Irish exchange in late 1994, they disappeared. The Nation discovered they had been re-registered under a company called Ince & Co which, it turns out was set up by JP Morgan to hold the shares. Since then the shares moved again to a company called Hare & Co. A little bit of digging shows Hare & Co have the same address as Bank of New York. Which is part of Bank of New York Mellon.
Hare and Co. appears to be a company set up to hold titles and may or may not receive payments for a great many companies and deals. Mellon is a huge player in the Paying Agent market. It is especially big in Ireland. Whether Mellon is doing this for itself, for JP Morgan or another, I don’t and can’t know. Banking secrecy rules!
The Myanmar Fund, after the bad publicity was placed into Liquidation in 1997. The Singapore government says no other fund has been set up to replace it. So what has happened to all the money and assets in it and what is happening today to the flow of profits and money from Heroin? All that has to have gone somewhere.
There are funds from Myanmar around today. I found one yesterday. Myanmar funds© is the trading name of Myanmar Star Corporation Limited. It is listed at 71a Knightsbridge. When I called them a worried, Russian sounding woman recognized the company name but said they were no longer there. When I asked if she had ever worked for them and told her I was a journalist, she said she would have to talk to her husband and could I call back in two hours. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Myanmar Star Corporation Limited says it is c/o Brunswick Capital LLP which describes its business as,
The Origination and operation of Close-end Offshore Enterprise/Country Capital Funds.
And the best bit, for me, is their advertising strap line – “The Oligarch’s Choice”. Says it all! But it is also rather eerily accurate. Banks are the oligarchs choice and banks like it that way. Banks love dictators, embezzlers, thieves, drug traffickers and monsters of every kind so long as they have money to bank. Banking is a world without moral compass ruled by moral cripples.
Just look at the more recent services which European banks have joyously performed for the juntas, dictators and despots of the world.
No big U.S. bank — Wells Fargo included — has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law.
Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.
According to Mr Jack Blum, who was for 14 years a U.S. Senate investigator and is now a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering, the logic is:
Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets. There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.”
The people at the top of banking are moral cripples and parasites. If we let them, they are intent on remaking our world in their image.