Amid the renewed anti-Bitcoin remarks ascribed to mainstream finance stakeholders, reports have emerged showing banks in Australia working in cahoots with violent South American cocaine cartels. Despite aspersions to the contrary, the crypto market continues to account for an insignificant proportion of global financial crimes.
Australian Banks Funelling Dirty Money for Drug Cartels
According to the Australian Financial Review, banks in the country have reportedly laundered about 500 million Australian dollars (approx. $385 million) for South American drug cartels. The revelation is coming amid actions taken by law enforcement agencies in the country to disrupt the elaborate money-laundering scheme.
Details from the investigation into the matter revealed that Australian banks helped move over 300 million AUD between 2014 and 2017. The banks also reportedly used dirty money from drug cartels to purchase expensive electronic items for onward movement to Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Nine financial institutions have been implicated in the matter, according to the Australian Border Force (ABF), with seven others based outside the country. Commenting on the report, an ABF spokeswoman revealed:
“The ABF is committed to protecting the Australian community by combating and disrupting criminal behaviour that exploits Australia’s cross border trade systems and has effectively disrupted the Australian-based money laundering operations of the entities.”
The revelation that Aussie banks are helping to launder money for criminal organizations is coming on the heels of reported discriminatory practices by some banks against crypto traders and exchanges. As previously reported by CryptoPotato, a Bitcoin exchange owner recently took legal actions against two banks for closing his accounts.
Banks Washing Proceeds from Crime
Back in 2019, leaked documents from the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) exposed massive money-laundering deals by banks. At the time, the dossier showed major American banks funneling over $2 trillion in dirty money for various criminal organizations.
Indeed, U.S. banks continue to pay huge fines for illegal practices ranging from money laundering to spoofing. In 2020, U.S. officials also fined Wells Fargo over $3 billion for multiple illegalities spanning a 15 year period.
Interestingly, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds a significant portion of Wells Fargo stocks. It is perhaps ironic that Buffett espouses anti-Bitcoin sentiment related to illegalities when Wells Fargo seems to have facilitated transfers associated with criminal activities.