Wachovia Corp. agrees to pay US$160 million in penalties

By Christine Duhaime | March 12th, 2010

Wachovia Corp. has agreed to pay a US$160 million settlement with the Department of Justice in the U.S. over allegations that it failed to implement anti-money laundering controls that enabled drug traffickers to launder money by transferring funds from Mexican currency exchange houses, known as casas de cambio, to Wachovia.

Prosecutors said the bank processed US$420 billion in transactions without anti-money laundering procedures. Wachovia took in at least US$373 billion in wire transfers that were made from casas de cambio in Mexico between May 2004 and May 2007.

In addition, more than US$4 billion in bulk cash was shipped from Mexican casas de cambio to Wachovia accounts, prosecutors allege. Wachovia also operated a “remote deposit capture” service that took in another US$47 billion, according to prosecutors.

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