Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laundering drug money

That the banking industry has been laundering money for drug cartels is conventional wisdom among drug policy reformers. It's long been recognized that one of the greatest stumbling blocks to meaningful common sense reform in dealing with the illegal drug trade is that the banking industry to no small extent depends on their business. So it's no surprise to learn that bank owner and Texas billionaire Allen Stanford is intimately tied to the drug cartels. What is surprising is that the authorities are doing anything about it.

He's on the lam now and watches from an unknown location as his banks are being seized worldwide. It would be good if this case led to a greater scrutiny of the symbiotic relationship between the illicit drug trade and the entire international banking system. Maybe then the public would better understand the motives of those who continue to advocate for failed policies that create more problems than they solve.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


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Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

Libby, the worst offender is American Express, and the symbiosis (between banks and drug money laundering) works around the concept of "float."

Say, you buy American Express Travelers Checques several months before your planned trip, and your trip lasts 4 to 6 weeks. Amex makes front-loaded money from commissions on the sale of travelers checks, but makes much more money on the delay between the time you purchased the checks versus the time you spent them. This delay between purchase and redemption is called "float" ... and Amex uses this "float" money to make more money. You see, float money is interest-free to Amex, but Amex can charge very high short-term interest rates to all sorts of borrowers for the use of this float money. The longer the float, the more money Amex makes, and laundering has the longest float of all.

American Express is the #1 choice for money laundering by drug and organized crime lords. (Sounds like a testimonial for a TV commercial, doesn't it?)

2:57:00 PM  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

A postscript, Libby, your post on this subject inspired me, and there is a hat tip in your honor.

5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Good point 8pus and thanks for the shoutout.

9:24:00 AM  

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