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World Banks

Japan Displaces US as World's Top Creditor

US bank assets increase 240 fold as federal spending increases 2800 fold

 

 

bullet US Bank Assets PLUNGE: from 32 Times Greater than Federal Spending, to Only TWO Times Greater.
bullet In 2001, Mizuho Holdings in Tokyo Became World's largest bank (Assets of $1.3 Trillion) .
bullet Japanese bank profits exploded in 2001.
bullet The 2000 "Asian Economic Crisis":  Bank of Tokyo down 4%.
bullet Japan's REAL Banking System:  the Japanese Postal Savings Account.
bullet U.S Government IS the PROBLEM!

 

"In fact, the government of China owns in this way about one third of
all publicly traded corporations in China. And when we factor in the
fact that they own lots more corporations that are not publicly
traded, we see that very roughly half of the economy of China is, in
one way or another, government. That is, the economy of China is a
very healthy mixture of very large amounts of both socialism and
capitalism."

China is no longer communist. It now has a 51% personal savings rate, which is INFINITELY higher that our NEGATIVE rate of 2-5%. Such a high personal savings rate is not possible under communism. WE are communist now, and CHINA is NOT. While China's banks have EXPLODED, ours have gone BANKRUPT. Lehman Brothers ALONE cost us $691 BILLION from their bankruptcy. Washington, Mutual, $328 BILLION. MF Global will cost us another $41 BILLION. Meanwhile, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China exploded 4 fold to $2 TRILLION, becoming the 5th largest bank in the world. Bank of China Limited, Beijing, exploded seven fold to become the 11th largest bank. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited increased 3 fold to become 37th. Bank of Communications Co Ltd, Shanghai, exploded ten fold to become the 40th largest.

And these are not the fastest growing nor largest banks. Of the top 100 world banks, BNP in Paris is now the largest, with assets nine TIMES greater than a decade ago. Deutsche Bank in Germany is second, with assets of $2.5 TRILLION, up three fold. Barclay's of London is third, with assets more than 6 times greater than a decade ago. Crédit Agricole SA, Paris is up five fold. Even assets in the Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Edinburgh, in lil' ole' Scotland is larger than ALL our banks. Assets in the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd , Tokyo , Japan, are up 3 fold. Asssets in Banco Santander SA, Boadilla del Monte, Spain are up NINE fold. Assets in Lloyds TSB Bank plc, London, UK are up six fold. Assets in Société Générale , Paris La Défense , France are up four fold. Assets in UBS AG , Zürich , Switzerland are up two fold. Assets in BPCE, Paris, France are up four fold, in Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Tokyo, Japan up three fold, ING Bank NV, Amsterdam, Netherlands up three fold, HSBC Bank plc, London, UK up three fold.

Americans Own Only 5% of their OWN Public Debt

Of our $16 TRILLION public debt, a debt which is twice as large as ALL the assets in ALL our banks, only 5% is owned by Americans, with little old Saudi Arabia (with a population about half that of California) holding ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, and Japan holding $9 trillion. Our UNPRECEDENTED negative balance of trade puts us in the position of having to ask China if we can borrow enough money to bomb Baghdad. Either of these three countries could easily kick the leg out from under our three legged stool simply by calling their debt, and at the current rate of spending and borrowing, American banks will have ZERO assets by 2015.

Should We "Panic" Over the $56 Billion Greek Default?

"Trichet is the head of the European Central Bank (ECB). If Greece defaults the European equivalent of the Fed takes a &Euro;40B hit, which is about $56B."

One single FRENCH bank, whose assets exploded in the last decade from $309.4 billion to in $2,676 billion in 2011, could easily pay off this entire GREEK debt without even feeling a bump in the road.  Instead of its assets increasing 8.65 fold, they would have increased only 8.47 fold.  Ditto for ONE single German bank, Deutsche, whose assets exploded from $735.2 billion to $2,552 billion.  If GERMANS singlehandedly paid off all of the GREEK'S debts, assets in this bank would have increased "only" 3.39 fold rather than 3.47 fold.  Ditto for ONE single Chinese bank whose assets increased 4.52 fold (from $452 billion to $2,044 billion), which would be only a 4.39 fold increase if CHINESE paid off the GREEK'S debts.  And the same for the Royal Bank of Scotland whose assets increased 4.51 fold (from $452 to $2,041 billion) and would be only 4.39 fold IF SCOTS agreed to pay off the GREEKS' debts.  Not even SPANIARDS would suffer: assets in ONE single Spanish bank, Banco Santander SA, would increase "only" 8.65 fold rather than 8.96 fold if SPANIARDS agree to subsidize the shiftless, lazy, arrogant, and still asleep GREEKS.  ONE single Japanese bank (and 30 of the top 100 world banks are JAPANESE), Bank of Tokyo, Mitsubishi, would have seen their assets increase "only" 2.74 fold rather than 2.84 fold (to a whopping $1,645 billion).  The ENGLISH could subsidize these shiftless GREEK bastards if just ONE of their banks, Lloyds of London, saw an increase of 5.44 rather than 5.64.  ING Bank in the Netherlands could have done it singlehandedly by reducing it's spectacular growth of 2.69 fold to only 2.57 fold; Royal Bank of Canada from 3.99 to 3.68.

It's not that banks or countries or Christian tax payers CANNOT subsidize the lazy, arrogant, helpless Greeks: it's that it's now time for tough love--it's time for them to subsidize their OWN economic recovery.

 

 

 

"MADE IN USA" in 1963 Is Where 70% of the World's Cars Were From

In 1962, just prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act (and the Equal Pay Act, and affirmative action), the words "Made in USA" were cherished around the world. ANYTHING made here was of the best quality the world had ever known, we made almost three quarters of all the cars in the world, the idea that Korea or Japan would ever be able to compete with us in any industry, particularly semiconductors and cars, was ludicrous. GM, Ford, GD, and Standard Oil were the biggest corporations in the world by far, with Dutch Royal Shell being one third the size of GM or Bank of America.

 

 

 



 

What A Difference Two Decades Makes

Within two decades after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, all of that had changed. Multiple banks in Japan, Barclays in England, Banque Nationale in France, Deutsche Bank in Germany, Royal Bank of Canada, were all larger than our second largest bank, Citibank.

 

Dai-Ichi Was FOUR TIMES Bigger than Citibank Within Three Decades

Three decades after the CRA, our largest bank, Citibank, was one quarter the size of Dai-ichi, Sumitomo, Mitsui, Sanwa, Fuji, AND Mitsubishi in Japan, one third the size of four French banks and one German bank, and half the size of 8 other Japanese banks, 3 Swiss banks, and 3 UK banks.

 

By 1999, Only Six US Banks Were Among the World's Top 50

Four decades after the CRA, only 6 US banks were amongst the world's top 50 banks, compared to 11 Japanese, 9 German, 6 United Kingdom, and 5 French banks.  The largest bank in the world was Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, with $735.2 billion in assets, considerably larger than our largest bank Citigroup with assets of $687.4 billion). 


 

 

 Missing from that list are the following Chinese banks: 

Indl. & Coml. Bank Of China China 427,546
Bank Of China China 350,736
China Construction Bank China 265,845
Agricultural Bank Of China China 244,270
Bank Of Communications China 64,986
China Everbright Bank China 20,278
China Merchants Bank China 19,866

 

 

 

Top 20 world banks in 2001

In 2001, only ONE of the top 20 world banks, Chase Manhattan, was a US bank, 7 were Japanese, 2 were Swiss, 2 were Chinese, 3 were German ( with assets four TIMES that of Chase Manhattan), 2 were in the UK, one was French, and one was Dutch (with assets 40% greater than Chase).

banksworld.jpg (49121 bytes)

http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/features/financial500.2000/banks51-100.html

 

 

By 2011, Only FOUR US Banks Were Amongst the Top 50

Missing from the following list of bank assets are two important savings assets which are not reported with regular bank assets:

  1. Japan's Postal Savings Accounts which are not banks and thus not counted on this list. The vast majority of Japanese household savings are here, not in banks.
  2. Germany's savings banks, which don't even report their assets to any of the following organizations.

 

 

Only China Has Fewer Assets per Capita than the US

 

 

 

 

 

1916

Deposits in US banks were $22.6 billion, 32 times greater than federal government expenditures of $713 million.

1929

Deposits in US banks were $51.5 billion, 16 times greater than federal government expenditures of $3.1 billion.

1939

Deposits in US banks were $56.9 billion, 6 times greater than federal government expenditures of $9.1 billion.

1940

Deposits in US banks were $60.6 billion, six times greater than federal government expenditures of $9.7 billion.

1954

Deposits in US banks were $182 billion, 2.6 times greater than federal expenditures of $70.9 billion.

1962

Deposits in the top five US banks were $45 billion.

1983

Four of the world's top 40 commercial banks were US banks, 16 were Japanese, 4 were French, 4 were United Kingdom, 4 were German, 3 were Canadian, 2 were Swiss, and 1 was in Hong Kong.  Of the $2,079 billion in commercial banks in the US, 85% or $1,628 billion was in US banks, which was only 2 times greater than federal expenditures of $808 billion.

1988

One of the world's top 40 commercial banks was in the US with assets of $105 billion and 22 were Japanese with assets of $1.9 trillion.   Per capita, the top Japanese commercial banks had 37 times as much in assets as US banks. 

1990

One of the world's top 40 commercial banks was a US bank, 17 were Japanese banks, 3 were French, 7 were German, 2 were United Kingdom, 3 were Swiss, 2 were Italian, 2 were Dutch, and 1 was in Hong Kong.   Six Japanese banks were each 4 times larger than our largest bank, Citibank, and 3 French banks were 3 times larger.

1996

The New York Times reported on December 16, 1996, just a few years before assets in Sumitomo Bank more than doubled, that "Japan to Use 10 Trillion Yen to Bolster Banking System", an utterly ludicrous statement.  10 trillion yen is only $91 billion, a mere 1.7% of just the assets in only the top Japanese banks, not including perhaps $93 trillion in their Postal Savings Accounts, nor the rest of Japan's banking system. For the government to offer to "bail out" such banks with a $91 billion loan is about like offering to fill up the Pacific Ocean with a tea cup--it's an empty gesture whose only hope could be to make bureaucrats feel better about the disaster they created, convince American sheeple that Japan is in the middle of an "Asian economic crisis", or prevent sheeple from comprehending the magnitude of the error of letting jews run our banks.

1998

Of the world's top 50 banks, five of them were US--Chase Manhattan, Citicorp, NationsBank, JP Morgan, and Bank of America--with assets of $1.5 trillion, and 15 of them were Japanese with assets of $5.2 trillion.  Per capita, the top Japanese commercial banks now had only 8 times as much in assets as US banks.  Our total assets in commercial banks were $5.4 trillion, but by 2000, the assets of just the Japanese banks in the Asian Top Fifty Banks were $6 trillion.   Of the 17 banks larger than our largest bank, Chase Manhattan, 8 were Japanese, 2 were German, 2 were Swiss, 2 were in the UK, 2 were French, and 1 was in the Netherlands.   The top Japanese bank was almost twice the size of our largest bank, Chase Manhattan.  Excluded from that list, but included on The Asiaweek Financial 500 for the year 2000 http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/features/asiaweek1000.2000/table1-50.html were Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China.

2000

During the alleged "Asian economic crisis" between 1998 and 2000, the assets of Japan's largest bank, Bank of Tokyo, decreased by 1.7%.  But Sumitomo Bank's assets increased 5.6%, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank's increased 17.6%, Sanwa Bank's increased 4%, Fuji Bank's increased 32.9%, Sakura Bank's increased 15%, Tokai Bank's increased 10%, Asahi Bank's increased 20.5%, Industrial Bank of Japan's by 3.8%.  Just the amount by which the assets of only 4 Japanese banks (Dai-Ichi, Fuji, Tokai, and Asahi) increased in only two years is greater than the total assets of Bank of America.

2001

Of the world's top 40 banks, 5 were Japanese with assets of $4.8 trillion and 7 were US with assets of $3.5 trillion.  Citigroup in New York, which ranked second, had assets of only $1 trillion, one quarter of a trillion less than the $1.28 trillion in Mizuho Holdings in Tokyo.  Total assets in US commercial banks were $5.0 trillion, compared to $7.3 trillion in the top 500 Japanese banks. Excluded from this list by American Banker was the Bank of China, which would have ranked 18th had it been included.  The assets of one single Japanese bank, Sumitomo, grew by $409 billion, from $515 billion to $924 billion (almost as much as the total assets of our second largest bank, Bank of America).

2002

Of the world's top 100 commercial banks, 10 were Japanese with $3.4 trillion in assets and 19 were US with $4.9 trillion.  But the monetary base of Japan's central bank accelerated to $71.5 trillion by 2002, increased another 31% to $94 trillion in 2003, and another 7% to $100.8 trillion in 2004.  Total assets in US commercial banks were $7.4 trillion, but only 73% or $5.4 trillion was in US-chartered banks, an amount that was only 2.7 times greater than federal government expenditures of $2 trillion.

WE NEED AN "ASIAN ECONOMIC CRISIS" LIKE JAPAN HAD

References:

bullet Federal expenditures.
bullet US banks.

 

World Banks 2011

By 2011, TWO of the world's top 20 banks, Bank of America and JP Morgan, were US banks, but FOUR were Chinese banks (one with assets 25% greater than JP Morgan), four were French (one with assets 64% greater than JP Morgan, as did one German bank), four were in the UK, 2 were Japanese, 1 was Spanish (about the size of JP Morgan), and one was Dutch.

http://www.bankersalmanac.com/addcon/infobank/bank-rankings.aspx or see banks.xlsx

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
1 (1) BNP Paribas SA , Paris , France *2,675,627 -2.89% 34,428.23 31.12.10
2 (2) Deutsche Bank AG , Frankfurt am Main , Germany *2,551,727 +26.99% 3,186.93 31.12.10
3 (3) Barclays Bank PLC , London , UK *2,326,004 +8.06% 22,625.66 31.12.10
4 (4) Cr�dit Agricole SA , Paris , France *2,133,810 +2.32% 9,647.83 31.12.10
5 (5) Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited , Beijing , China *2,043,861 +14.20% 53,002.93 31.12.10
6 (6) The Royal Bank of Scotland plc , Edinburgh , UK *2,040,790 -22.94% 10,316.89 31.12.10
7 (7) The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd , Tokyo , Japan 1,644,768 +3.32% 18,293.18 31.03.10
8 (8) China Construction Bank Corporation , Beijing , China *1,641,683 +12.33% 37,967.32 31.12.10
9 (9) JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association , New York , USA *1,631,621 +0.24% 1,785.00 31.12.10
Back to Top

* Figures are consolidated

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
10 (10) Banco Santander SA , Boadilla del Monte , Spain *1,630,290 +9.63% 5,576.54 31.12.10
11 (11) Bank of China Limited , Beijing , China *1,588,462 +19.57% 42,391.99 31.12.10
12 (12) Lloyds TSB Bank plc , London , UK *1,574,667 -1.80% 2,457.07 31.12.10
13 (13) Agricultural Bank of China Limited , Beijing , China *1,569,865 +16.38% 49,324.06 31.12.10
14 (14) Soci�t� G�n�rale , Paris La D�fense , France *1,515,897 +10.59% 1,249.33 31.12.10
15 (15) Bank of America NA , Charlotte , USA *1,482,278 +1.16% 3,020.04 31.12.10
16 (16) UBS AG , Z�rich , Switzerland *1,409,574 -1.74% 409.84 31.12.10
17 (-) BPCE , Paris , France *1,403,913 - 22,292.45 31.12.10
18 (17) Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation , Tokyo , Japan *1,282,706 +3.62% 18,924.03 31.03.10
Back to Top

* Figures are consolidated

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
19 (18) ING Bank NV , Amsterdam , Netherlands *1,249,428 +5.78% 703.00 31.12.10
20 (19) HSBC Bank plc , London , UK *1,246,478 +6.19% 1,244.15 31.12.10
21 (20) UniCredit SpA , Milan , Italy *1,244,627 +0.08% 12,920.18 31.12.10
22 (21) Citibank NA , New York , USA *1,154,293 -0.61% 751.00 31.12.10
23 (22) Wells Fargo Bank NA , San Francisco , USA *1,102,278 - 519.00 31.12.10
24 (23) Credit Suisse AG , Z�rich , Switzerland *1,079,466 -2.20% 4,708.40 31.12.10
25 (24) Commerzbank AG , Frankfurt am Main , Germany *1,010,042 -10.64% 27,082.22 31.12.10
26 (25) Cr�dit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank , Paris La D�fense , France *959,014 +0.53% 8,109.27 31.12.10
27 (26) Bank of Scotland plc , Edinburgh , UK *895,713 -13.24% 9,127.38 31.12.10
Back to Top

* Figures are consolidated

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
28 (27) Intesa Sanpaolo SpA , Milan , Italy *882,106 +5.43% 8,900.64 31.12.10
29 (28) Rabobank Nederland , Utrecht , Netherlands *873,776 +7.38% 10,626.67 31.12.10
30 (29) Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd , Tokyo , Japan 786,441 -1.11% 15,003.18 31.03.10
31 (30) Nordea Bank AB (publ) , Stockholm , Sweden *777,770 +14.44% 5,413.77 31.12.10
32 (31) Mizuho Bank Ltd , Tokyo , Japan 764,417 +2.17% 7,479.87 31.03.10
33 (32) Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA , Madrid , Spain *740,142 +3.30% 2,947.24 31.12.10
34 (33) The Norinchukin Bank , Tokyo , Japan 731,642 +9.55% 36,607.65 31.03.10
35 (34) Royal Bank of Canada , Montr�al , Canada *713,085 +10.87% 17,862.33 31.10.10
36 (36) National Australia Bank Ltd , Melbourne , Australia *665,456 +4.87% 22,847.30 30.09.10
Back to Top

* Figures are consolidated

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
37 (37) The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited , Hong Kong , Hong Kong *648,288 +16.08% 2,893.42 31.12.10
38 (38) Natixis , Paris , France *613,295 +1.96% 6,230.58 31.12.10
39 (39) The Toronto-Dominion Bank , Toronto , Canada *608,351 +11.19% 19,761.39 31.10.10
40 (41) Bank of Communications Co Ltd , Shanghai , China *600,099 +19.41% 8,543.79 31.12.10
41 (42) Westpac Banking Corporation , Sydney , Australia *599,803 +4.87% 23,764.07 30.09.10
42 (45) Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) , Frankfurt am Main , Germany *591,533 +10.42% 4,418.85 31.12.10
43 (43) Credit Suisse International , London , UK *578,919td> - 9,625.00 31.12.10
44 (44) Danske Bank A/S , Copenhagen , Denmark *577,238 +3.72% 1,255.10 31.12.10
45 (46) National Westminster Bank Plc , London , UK *572,170 +4.51% 2,619.42 31.12.10
Back to Top

* Figures are consolidated

Current
Rank
Previous
Rank
BANK Assets
US$m
+ or -
(local curr)
Capital
US$m
Balance
Sheet
46 (47) Commonwealth Bank of Australia , Sydney , Australia *558,674 +4.18% 20,762.38 30.06.10
47 (49) The Bank of Nova Scotia , Toronto , Canada *517,142 +6.07% 9,573.84 31.10.10
48 (50) Standard Chartered PLC , London , UK *516,542 +18.30% 1,174.00 31.12.10
49 (51) Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited , Melbourne , Australia *515,851 +11.48% 20,136.79 30.09.10
50 (52) DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank , Frankfurt am Main , Germany *513,476 -1.30% 4,231.39 31.12.10

* Figures are consolidated

* These bank rankings are compiled from balance sheet information included on Bankersalmanac.com available at 18th August 2011.

The information available at this date is used to compile the full world and country rankings.

 

Five of the top 50 world banks in 2011 were US, 4 were French, 5 were German, 5 were in the UK, 6 were Chinese, 4 were Japanese, 2 were Dutch, 4 were Australian, 2 were Spanish, one was Brazilian, one Danish, and one Swedish.

http://www.gfmag.com/tools/best-banks/11382-worlds-50-biggest-banks-2011.html#axzz1ekC3kLJd

World's 50 Biggest Banks 2011
Rank Bank
Country
Total Assets ($m)
Statement Date
1 BNP Paribas
France
2,669,906
12/31/10
2 Deutsche Bank
Germany
2,546,272
12/31/10
3 HSBC Holdings
United Kingdom
2,454,689
12/31/10
4 Barclays United Kingdom 2,331,943 12/31/10
5 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group United Kingdom 2,275,479 12/31/10
6 Bank of America United States 2,268,347 12/31/10
7 Cr�dit Agricole France 2,129,248 12/31/10
8 JPMorgan Chase United States 2,117,605 12/31/10
9 Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) China 2,032,131 12/31/10
10 Citigroup United States 1,913,902 12/31/10
11 Mizuho Financial Group Japan 1,890,220 03/31/11
12 Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Japan 1,687,313 03/31/10
13 ING Group Netherlands 1,666,368 12/31/10
14 China Construction Bank China 1,632,261 12/31/10
15 Banco Santander Spain 1,626,805 12/31/10
16 Bank of China China 1,579,346 12/31/10
17 Agricultural Bank of China* China 1,568,722 12/31/10
18 Lloyds Banking Group United Kingdom 1,552,245 12/31/10
19 Soci�t� G�n�rale France 1,512,657 12/31/10
20 UBS Switzerland 1,401,924 12/31/10
21 Groupe BPCE
France 1,400,911 12/31/10
22 Wells Fargo United States 1,258,128 12/31/10
23 Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Japan 1,247,053 03/31/10
24 UniCredit Italy 1,241,967 12/31/10
25 Credit Suisse Group Switzerland 1,098,345 12/31/10
26 Commerzbank Germany 1,007,882 12/31/10
27 Goldman Sachs Group United States 911,332 12/31/10
28 Intesa Sanpaolo Italy 880,221 12/31/10
29 Rabobank Group Netherlands 871,908 12/31/10
30 Norinchukin Bank** Japan 844,431 09/30/10
31 China Development Bank China 771,729 12/31/10
32 Nordea Bank Sweden 776,108 12/31/10
33 Dexia Belgium 757,262 12/31/10
34 Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) Spain 738,560 12/31/10
35 Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)* Canada 713,646 12/31/10
36 National Australia Bank* Australia 664,174 12/31/10
37 Commonwealth Bank of Australia Australia 660,205 12/31/10
38 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) Canada 608,113 12/31/10
39 Westpac Banking Corporation* Australia 598,647 12/31/10
40 Bank of Communications China 596,655 12/31/10
41 KfW Germany 590,269 12/31/10
42 Danske Bank Denmark 572,547 12/31/10
43 Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia) Canada 516,939 12/31/10
44 Standard Chartered United Kingdom 516,542 12/31/10
45 Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) Australia 514,857 09/30/10
46 DZ Bank Germany 512,378 12/31/10
47 ABN Amro* Netherlands 509,249 12/31/10
48 Banque F�d�rative du Cr�dit Mutuel (BFCM) France 501,422 12/31/10
49 Landesbank Baden-W�rttemberg (LBBW) Germany 500,285 12/31/10
50 Banco do Brasil Brazil 481,179 12/31/10

Source: Fitch Ratings except

* Moody�s Investors Service

** Norinchukin Bank



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http://www.wuta.com/mc/b_list.html

1. HSBC HOLDINGS HONG KONG
2. CHASE MANHATTAN BANK USA
3. CREDIT AGRICOLE GROUP FRANCE
4. CITI CORP USA
5. BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI* JAPAN
6. DEUTSCHE BANK GERMANY
7. ABN AMRO BANK NETHERLAND
8. SUMITOMO BANK* JAPAN
10. DAI-ICHI KANGYO BANK* JAPAN
11. FUJI BANK* JAPAN
12. SANWA BANK* JAPAN
13. NATIONS BANK USA
14. UNION BANK OF SWITZERLAND SWITZERLAND
15. BARCLAYS BANK UK
16. CREDIT SUISSE GROUP SWITZERLAND
17. SAKURA BANK* JAPAN
18. RABOBANK NETHERLAND NETHERLAND
19. NATIONAL WESTMINSTER BANK UK
20. HALIFAX UK
21. J P MORGAN & CO USA
22. INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL BANK OF CHINA* CHINA
23. BANQUE NATIONAL DE PARIS FRANCE
24. NARINCHUKIN BANK* JAPAN
25. GROUPE CAISSE D�EPARGNE FRANCE
26. INDUSTRIAL BANK OF JAPAN* JAPAN
27. BANK OF CHINA* CHINA
28. DRESDNER BANK GERMANY
29. LLOYDS TSB GROUP UK
30. FIRST UNION CORPORATION USA
31. SOCIETE GENERALE FRANCE
32. TOKAI BANK* JAPAN
33. BANC ONE CORPORATION USA
34. COMMERZBANK GERMANY
35. ING BANK GROUP NETHERLAND
36. BAYERISCHE VEREINSBANK GERMANY
37. FIRST CHICAGO NBD CORPORATION USA
38. CAMPAGNIE FINANCIERE DE PARIBAS FRANCE
39. ABBEY NATIONAL UK
40. BANNCO SANTANDER SPAIN
41. CREDIT MUTUEL FRANCE
42. WESTDEUTSCHE LANDESBANK-GIROZENTRALE GERMANY
43. LONG-TERM CREDIT BANK OF JAPAN* JAPAN
44. NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK AUSTRALIA
45. CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE CANADA
46. ROYAL BANK OF CANADA CANADA
47. ASAHI BANK* JAPAN
48. CREDIT LYONNAIS FRANCE
49. SCOTIABANK CANADA
50. BANCO BILBAO VIZCAYA SPAIN
51. BANKERS TRUST OF NEW YORK USA
52. SWISS BANK CORP SWITZERLAND
53. FLEET FINANCIAL USA
54. BANK OF MONTREAL CANADA
55. WELLS FARGO & CO USA
56. CHINA CONSTRUCTION BANK* CHINA
57. DEXIO SPAIN
58. CARIPLO ITALY
59. BAYERISCHE LANDESBANK GERMANY
60. MITSUBISHI TRUST & BANKING CORPORATION* JAPAN
61. KREDITANSTALT FUR WIDERAUBAU GERMANY
62. COMMONWEALTH BANK CORP AUSTRALIA
63. BANKO DE BRASIL* BRAZIL
64. NORWEST CORP USA
65. BANCO BRADESCO* BRAZIL
66. WACHOVIA CORPORATION USA
67. GROUPE BANQUES POPULAIRES FRANCE
68. BANCO DE ROMA ITALY
69. INSTITUTO BANCOCIO SAN APULO DI TORINO ITALY
70. BAYERRISCHE-HYPOHEKEN & WECHSEL-BANK GERMANY
71. PNC BANK CORPORATION USA
72. ARGENTURIA SPAIN
73. ANZ BANKING GROUP AUSTRALIA
74. US BANCORP USA
75. WESTPARC BANKING CORPORATION AUSTRALIA
76. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND UK
77. BANKBOSTON USA
78. TORONTO DOMINION BANK CANADA
79. AGRICULTURAL BANK OF CHINA CHINA
80. SUMITOMO TRUST AND BANKING* JAPAN
81. BANCO COMMERCIALE ITALIANO ITALY
82. DAIWA BANK* JAPAN
83. BANK OF NEW YORK USA
84. KEYCORP USA
85. BANK OF SCOTLAND UK
86. BANKGESELLSCHAFT BERLIN GERMANY
87. OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION* CHINA
88. SHOKO CHUKIN BANK* JAPAN
89. DBS BANK SINGAPORE
90. MITSUI TRUST & BANKING* JAPAN
91. BANK AUSTRIA AUSTRIA
92. STANDARD CHARTERED BANK UK
93. GENERALE BANK BELGIUM
94. INSTITUTO MOBILIASE ITALIANO ITALY
95. CREDITO ITALIANO ITALY
96. NATIONAL CITY CORP USA
97. BANCO MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA ITALY
98. DEN DANSKE BANK DENMARK
99. BANCO ITOIS SAN PAULO BRAZIL* BRAZIL
100. SHIZUOKA BANK* JAPAN

 

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/10/31/mf-global-likely-among-the-10-biggest-bankruptcies-ever/

By Shira Ovide

MF Global, the brokerage run by former Goldman Sachs chief Jon Corzine, today filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming one of the highest-profile U.S. victims of bad bets on European government debt.

With the Chapter 11 filing, MF Global also is likely to be added to the ignominious list of the 10 largest bankruptcies in U.S. corporate history. Here is that list, according to research firm BankruptcyData.com, and based on the value of each company’s assets before its bankruptcy filing.

Based on MF Global’s disclosed assets in its bankruptcy filing, it is likely to slot in just ahead of Chrysler as the eighth-largest U.S. bankruptcy.

1) Lehman Brothers Holdings, September 2008: $691 billion in assets

2) Washington Mutual, September 2008: $327.9 billion

3) WorldCom, July 2002: $103.9 billion

4) General Motors, June 2009: $91 billion

5) CIT Group, November 2009: $80.4 billion

6) Enron, 2001: $65.5 billion

7) Conseco, 2002: $61.4 billion

MF Global: $41 billion (as of Sept. 30)

8) Chrysler April, 2009: $39.3 billion

9) Thornburg Mortgage May, 2009: $36.5 billion

10) Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 2001: $36.15 billion

 

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored
Mexico drugs
A soldier guards marijuana that is being incinerated in Tijuana, Mexico. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AP

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller's cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme. Of special significance was that the period concerned began in 2004, which coincided with the first escalation of violence along the US-Mexico border that ignited the current drugs war.

Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court. In March 2010, Wachovia settled the biggest action brought under the US bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami. Now that the year's "deferred prosecution" has expired, the bank is in effect in the clear. It paid federal authorities $110m in forfeiture, for allowing transactions later proved to be connected to drug smuggling, and incurred a $50m fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4bn – a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico's gross national product – into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business.

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"Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank's $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the "legal" banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to banks on the brink of collapse. "Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade," he said. "There were signs that some banks were rescued that way."

Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash, just as Wells Fargo became a beneficiary of $25bn in taxpayers' money. Wachovia's prosecutors were clear, however, that there was no suggestion Wells Fargo had behaved improperly; it had co-operated fully with the investigation. Mexico is the US's third largest international trading partner and Wachovia was understandably interested in this volume of legitimate trade.

José Luis Marmolejo, who prosecuted those running one of the casas de cambio at the Mexican end, said: "Wachovia handled all the transfers. They never reported any as suspicious."

"As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk," the bank admitted in the statement of settlement with the federal government, but, "despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business". There is, of course, the legitimate use of CDCs as a way into the Hispanic market. In 2005 the World Bank said that Mexico was receiving $8.1bn in remittances.

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During research into the Wachovia Mexican case, the Observer obtained documents previously provided to financial regulators. It emerged that the alarm that was ignored came from, among other places, London, as a result of the diligence of one of the most important whistleblowers of our time. A man who, in a series of interviews with the Observer, adds detail to the documents, laying bare the story of how Wachovia was at the centre of one of the world's biggest money-laundering operations.

Martin Woods, a Liverpudlian in his mid-40s, joined the London office of Wachovia Bank in February 2005 as a senior anti-money laundering officer. He had previously served with the Metropolitan police drug squad. As a detective he joined the money-laundering investigation team of the National Crime Squad, where he worked on the British end of the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal in the late 1990s.

Woods talks like a police officer – in the best sense of the word: punctilious, exact, with a roguish humour, but moral at the core. He was an ideal appointment for any bank eager to operate a diligent and effective risk management policy against the lucrative scourge of high finance: laundering, knowing or otherwise, the vast proceeds of criminality, tax-evasion, and dealing in arms and drugs.

Woods had a police officer's eye and a police officer's instincts – not those of a banker. And this influenced not only his methods, but his mentality. "I think that a lot of things matter more than money – and that marks you out in a culture which appears to prevail in many of the banks in the world," he says.

Woods was set apart by his modus operandi. His speciality, he explains, was his application of a "know your client", or KYC, policing strategy to identifying dirty money. "KYC is a fundamental approach to anti-money laundering, going after tax evasion or counter-terrorist financing. Who are your clients? Is the documentation right? Good, responsible banking involved always knowing your customer and it still does."

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When he looked at Wachovia, the first thing Woods noticed was a deficiency in KYC information. And among his first reports to his superiors at the bank's headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, were observations on a shortfall in KYC at Wachovia's operation in London, which he set about correcting, while at the same time implementing what was known as an enhanced transaction monitoring programme, gathering more information on clients whose money came through the bank's offices in the City, in sterling or euros. By August 2006, Woods had identified a number of suspicious transactions relating to casas de cambio customers in Mexico.

Primarily, these involved deposits of traveller's cheques in euros. They had sequential numbers and deposited larger amounts of money than any innocent travelling person would need, with inadequate or no KYC information on them and what seemed to a trained eye to be dubious signatures. "It was basic work," he says. "They didn't answer the obvious questions: 'Is the transaction real, or does it look synthetic? Does the traveller's cheque meet the protocols? Is it all there, and if not, why not?'"

Woods discussed the matter with Wachovia's global head of anti-money laundering for correspondent banking, who believed the cheques could signify tax evasion. He then undertook what banks call a "look back" at previous transactions and saw fit to submit a series of SARs, or suspicious activity reports, to the authorities in the UK and his superiors in Charlotte, urging the blocking of named parties and large series of sequentially numbered traveller's cheques from Mexico. He issued a number of SARs in 2006, of which 50 related to the casas de cambio in Mexico. To his amazement, the response from Wachovia's Miami office, the centre for Latin American business, was anything but supportive – he felt it was quite the reverse.

As it turned out, however, Woods was on the right track. Wachovia's business in Mexico was coming under closer and closer scrutiny by US federal law enforcement. Wachovia was issued with a number of subpoenas for information on its Mexican operation. Woods has subsequently been informed that Wachovia had six or seven thousand subpoenas. He says this was "An absurd number. So at what point does someone at the highest level not get the feeling that something is very, very wrong?"

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In April and May 2007, Wachovia – as a result of increasing interest and pressure from the US attorney's office – began to close its relationship with some of the casas de cambio. But rather than launch an internal investigation into Woods's alerts over Mexico, Woods claims Wachovia hung its own money-laundering expert out to dry. The records show that during 2007 Woods "continued to submit more SARs related to the casas de cambio".

In July 2007, all of Wachovia's remaining 10 Mexican casa de cambio clients operating through London suddenly stopped doing so. Later in 2007, after the investigation of Wachovia was reported in the US financial media, the bank decided to end its remaining relationships with the Mexican casas de cambio globally. By this time, Woods says, he found his personal situation within the bank untenable; while the bank acted on one level to protect itself from the federal investigation into its shortcomings, on another, it rounded on the man who had been among the first to spot them.

On 16 June Woods was told by Wachovia's head of compliance that his latest SAR 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.

Woods's life went into freefall. He went to hospital with a prolapsed disc, reported sick and was told by the bank that he not done so in the appropriate manner, as directed by the employees' handbook. He was off work for three weeks, returning in August 2007 to find a letter from the bank's compliance managing director, which was unrelenting in its tone and words of warning.

The letter addressed itself to what the manager called "specific examples of your failure to perform at an acceptable standard". Woods, on the edge of a breakdown, was put on sick leave by his GP; he was later given psychiatric treatment, enrolled on a stress management course and put on medication.

Late in 2007, Woods attended a function at Scotland Yard where colleagues from the US were being entertained. There, he sought out a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration and told him about the casas de cambio, the SARs and his employer's reaction. The Federal Reserve and officials of the office of comptroller of currency in Washington DC then "spent a lot of time examining the SARs" that had been sent by Woods to Charlotte from London.

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"They got back in touch with me a while afterwards and we began to put the pieces of the jigsaw together," says Woods. What they found was – as Costa says – the tip of the iceberg of what was happening to drug money in the banking industry, but at least it was visible and it had a name: Wachovia.

In June 2005, the DEA, the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service and the US attorney's office in southern Florida began investigating wire transfers from Mexico to the US. They were traced back to correspondent bank accounts held by casas de cambio at Wachovia. The CDC accounts were supervised and managed by a business unit of Wachovia in the bank's Miami offices.

"Through CDCs," said the court document, "persons in Mexico can use hard currency and … wire transfer the value of that currency to US bank accounts to purchase items in the United States or other countries. The nature of the CDC business allows money launderers the opportunity to move drug dollars that are in Mexico into CDCs and ultimately into the US banking system.

"On numerous occasions," say the court papers, "monies were deposited into a CDC by a drug-trafficking organisation. Using false identities, the CDC then wired that money through its Wachovia correspondent bank accounts for the purchase of airplanes for drug-trafficking organisations." The court settlement of 2010 would detail that "nearly $13m went through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia for the purchase of aircraft to be used in the illegal narcotics trade. From these aircraft, more than 20,000kg of cocaine were seized."

All this occurred despite the fact that Wachovia's office was in Miami, designated by the US government as a "high-intensity money laundering and related financial crime area", and a "high-intensity drug trafficking area". Since the drug cartel war began in 2005, Mexico had been designated a high-risk source of money laundering.

"As early as 2004," the court settlement would read, "Wachovia understood the risk that was associated with doing business with the Mexican CDCs. Wachovia was aware of the general industry warnings. As early as July 2005, Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the CDC business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns … despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business."

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On 16 March 2010, Douglas Edwards, senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank, put his signature to page 10 of a 25-page settlement, in which the bank admitted its role as outlined by the prosecutors. On page 11, he signed again, as senior vice-president of Wells Fargo. The documents show Wachovia providing three services to 22 CDCs in Mexico: wire transfers, a "bulk cash service" and a "pouch deposit service", to accept "deposit items drawn on US banks, eg cheques and traveller's cheques", as spotted by Woods.

"For the time period of 1 May 2004 through 31 May 2007, Wachovia processed at least $$373.6bn in CDCs, $4.7bn in bulk cash" – a total of more than $378.3bn, a sum that dwarfs the budgets debated by US state and UK local authorities to provide services to citizens.

The document gives a fascinating insight into how the laundering of drug money works. It details how investigators "found readily identifiable evidence of red flags of large-scale money laundering". There were "structured wire transfers" whereby "it was commonplace in the CDC accounts for round-number wire transfers to be made on the same day or in close succession, by the same wire senders, for the … same account".

Over two days, 10 wire transfers by four individuals "went though Wachovia for deposit into an aircraft broker's account. All of the transfers were in round numbers. None of the individuals of business that wired money had any connection to the aircraft or the entity that allegedly owned the aircraft. The investigation has further revealed that the identities of the individuals who sent the money were false and that the business was a shell entity. That plane was subsequently seized with approximately 2,000kg of cocaine on board."

Many of the sequentially numbered traveller's cheques, of the kind dealt with by Woods, contained "unusual markings" or "lacked any legible signature". Also, "many of the CDCs that used Wachovia's bulk cash service sent significantly more cash to Wachovia than what Wachovia had expected. More specifically, many of the CDCs exceeded their monthly activity by at least 50%."

Recognising these "red flags", the US attorney's office in Miami, the IRS and the DEA began investigating Wachovia, later joined by FinCEN, one of the US Treasury's agencies to fight money laundering, while the office of the comptroller of the currency carried out a parallel investigation. The violations they found were, says the document, "serious and systemic and allowed certain Wachovia customers to launder millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics through Wachovia accounts over an extended time period. The investigation has identified that at least $110m in drug proceeds were funnelled through the CDC accounts held at Wachovia."

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The settlement concludes by discussing Wachovia's "considerable co-operation and remedial actions" since the prosecution was initiated, after the bank was bought by Wells Fargo. "In consideration of Wachovia's remedial actions," concludes the prosecutor, "the United States shall recommend to the court … that prosecution of Wachovia on the information filed … be deferred for a period of 12 months."

But while the federal prosecution proceeded, Woods had remained out in the cold. On Christmas Eve 2008, his lawyers filed tribunal proceedings against Wachovia for bullying and detrimental treatment of a whistleblower. The case was settled in May 2009, by which time Woods felt as though he was "the most toxic person in the bank". Wachovia agreed to pay an undisclosed amount, in return for which Woods left the bank and said he would not make public the terms of the settlement.

After years of tribulation, Woods was finally formally vindicated, though not by Wachovia: a letter arrived from John Dugan, the comptroller of the currency in Washington DC, dated 19 March 2010 – three days after the settlement in Miami. Dugan said he was "writing to personally recognise and express my appreciation for the role you played in the actions brought against Wachovia Bank for violations of the bank secrecy act … Not only did the information that you provided facilitate our investigation, but you demonstrated great personal courage and integrity by speaking up. Without the efforts of individuals like you, actions such as the one taken against Wachovia would not be possible."

The so-called "deferred prosecution" detailed in the Miami document is a form of probation whereby if the bank abides by the law for a year, charges are dropped. So this March the bank was in the clear. The week that the deferred prosecution expired, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo said the parent bank had no comment to make on the documentation pertaining to Woods's case, or his allegations. She added that there was no comment on Sloman's remarks to the court; a provision in the settlement stipulated Wachovia was not allowed to issue public statements that contradicted it.

But the settlement leaves a sour taste in many mouths – and certainly in Woods's. The deferred prosecution is part of this "cop-out all round", he says. "The regulatory authorities do not have to spend any more time on it, and they don't have to push it as far as a criminal trial. They just issue criminal proceedings, and settle. The law enforcement people do what they are supposed to do, but what's the point? All those people dealing with all that money from drug-trafficking and murder, and no one goes to jail?"

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One of the foremost figures in the training of anti-money laundering officers is Robert Mazur, lead infiltrator for US law enforcement of the Colombian Medellín cartel during the epic prosecution and collapse of the BCCI banking business in 1991 (his story was made famous by his memoir, The Infiltrator, which became a movie).

Mazur, whose firm Chase and Associates works closely with law enforcement agencies and trains officers for bank anti-money laundering, cast a keen eye over the case against Wachovia, and he says now that "the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom".

Mazur said that "a lot of the law enforcement people were disappointed to see a settlement" between the administration and Wachovia. "But I know there were external circumstances that worked to Wachovia's benefit, not least that the US banking system was on the edge of collapse."

What concerns Mazur is that what law enforcement agencies and politicians hope to achieve against the cartels is limited, and falls short of the obvious attack the US could make in its war on drugs: go after the money. "We're thinking way too small," Mazur says. "I train law enforcement officers, thousands of them every year, and they say to me that if they tried to do half of what I did, they'd be arrested. But I tell them: 'You got to think big. The headlines you will be reading in seven years' time will be the result of the work you begin now.' With BCCI, we had to spend two years setting it up, two years doing undercover work, and another two years getting it to trial. If they want to do something big, like go after the money, that's how long it takes."

But Mazur warns: "If you look at the career ladders of law enforcement, there's no incentive to go after the big money. People move every two to three years. The DEA is focused on drug trafficking rather than money laundering. You get a quicker result that way – they want to get the traffickers and seize their assets. But this is like treating a sick plant by cutting off a few branches – it just grows new ones. Going after the big money is cutting down the plant – it's a harder door to knock on, it's a longer haul, and it won't get you the short-term riches."

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The office of the comptroller of the currency is still examining whether individuals in Wachovia are criminally liable. Sources at FinCEN say that a so-called "look-back" is in process, as directed by the settlement and agreed to by Wachovia, into the $378.4bn that was not directly associated with the aircraft purchases and cocaine hauls, but neither was it subject to the proper anti-laundering checks. A FinCEN source says that $20bn already examined appears to have "suspicious origins". But this is just the beginning.

Antonio Maria Costa, who was executive director of the UN's office on drugs and crime from May 2002 to August 2010, charts the history of the contamination of the global banking industry by drug and criminal money since his first initiatives to try to curb it from the European commission during the 1990s. "The connection between organised crime and financial institutions started in the late 1970s, early 1980s," he says, "when the mafia became globalised."

Until then, criminal money had circulated largely in cash, with the authorities making the occasional, spectacular "sting" or haul. During Costa's time as director for economics and finance at the EC in Brussels, from 1987, inroads were made against penetration of banks by criminal laundering, and "criminal money started moving back to cash, out of the financial institutions and banks. Then two things happened: the financial crisis in Russia, after the emergence of the Russian mafia, and the crises of 2003 and 2007-08.

"With these crises," says Costa, "the banking sector was short of liquidity, the banks exposed themselves to the criminal syndicates, who had cash in hand."

Costa questions the readiness of governments and their regulatory structures to challenge this large-scale corruption of the global economy: "Government regulators showed what they were capable of when the issue suddenly changed to laundering money for terrorism – on that, they suddenly became serious and changed their attitude."

Hardly surprising, then, that Wachovia does not appear to be the end of the line. In August 2010, it emerged in quarterly disclosures by HSBC that the US justice department was seeking to fine it for anti-money laundering compliance problems reported to include dealings with Mexico.

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"Wachovia had my résumé, they knew who I was," says Woods. "But they did not want to know – their attitude was, 'Why are you doing this?' They should have been on my side, because they were compliance people, not commercial people. But really they were commercial people all along. We're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the biggest money-laundering scandal of our time.

"These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world," he says. "All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail. "What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn't make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where's the risk? There is none.

"Is it in the interest of the American people to encourage both the drug cartels and the banks in this way? Is it in the interest of the Mexican people? It's simple: if you don't see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you're missing the point."

Woods feels unable to rest on his laurels. He tours the world for a consultancy he now runs, Hermes Forensic Solutions, counselling and speaking to banks on the dangers of laundering criminal money, and how to spot and stop it. "New York and London," says Woods, "have become the world's two biggest laundries of criminal and drug money, and offshore tax havens. Not the Cayman Islands, not the Isle of Man or Jersey. The big laundering is right through the City of London and Wall Street.

"After the Wachovia case, no one in the regulatory community has sat down with me and asked, 'What happened?' or 'What can we do to avoid this happening to other banks?' They are not interested. They are the same people who attack the whistleblowers and this is a position the [British] Financial Services Authority at least has adopted on legal advice: it has been advised that the confidentiality of banking and bankers takes primacy over the public information disclosure act. That is how the priorities work: secrecy first, public interest second.

"Meanwhile, the drug industry has two products: money and suffering. On one hand, you have massive profits and enrichment. On the other, you have massive suffering, misery and death. You cannot separate one from the other.

"What happened at Wachovia was symptomatic of the failure of the entire regulatory system to apply the kind of proper governance and adequate risk management which would have prevented not just the laundering of blood money, but the global crisis."

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