Money laundering: The turn of the screw
Banks are scrambling to tighten controls as US agencies step up their efforts against money laundering. The knock-on effects of new legislation could have a profound impact on the face of Latin banking
By Ivan Castano
December 11, 2012 is a date that HSBC shareholders are unlikely
to forget soon. That day, the bank agreed to pay a record $1.92
billion to settle US government fines and forfeitures for money
laundering. It was the largest US penalty ever imposed on a
It followed a US Senate investigation which had revealed in
July that the bank had transferred $7 billion from Mexican drug
as well as more funds from nations penalized by US sanctions,
most notably Iran –
into the US. The result of the fine has been a scramble by
Latin American banks to strengthen their money laundering
"If LatAm bank controls were not up to date then, you can
bet they are now," says Mireya Lozano, a Mexico-City based
consultant and member of the Association of Certified
Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). "No bank wants to
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