UN Anti-Drugs/Crime Head Repeats Warning: Crisis-Hit Banks Are Laundering Drug Cash
January 31, 2009 (LPAC)--UN Office of Drugs and Crime Director Antonio Maria Costa has again warned that huge international drug money flows are bailing out the crisis-hit banking system. This is Costa's second warning this week.
Costa told Associated Press yesterday in Vienna, that organized crime is using the financial crisis "as a golden opportunity" to launder funds through bank deposits and buying shares. He again would not identify any institution by name, but said that this money laundering is "certainly happening across the board.... The money is available and the need for that money is there. I think the whole system is infected."
On Jan. 27, the Vienna, Austria weekly Profil published an interview with Costa, in which he said that banks had been saved from collapse by injections of drug money, in the second half of 2008.
Costa said that the bank managers know what is going on. "I'm pretty sure that when someone knocks at the door of a banker with a few million, or tens of millions of dollars in a briefcase, the bank has plenty of reasons to doubt the origin," he told AP. He is using information from prosecutors in a number of countries, discussions with banking representatives and years of experience tracking organized crime, as the basis for his warning. Not only the $320 billion world drug trade, but arms and human trafficking profits are involved, he said.