Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result…
Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. “In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor,” he said.Or, as Yves puts it (again, emphasis mine):
Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.
“Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities… There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.” Costa declined to identify countries or banks that may have received any drugs money, saying that would be inappropriate because his office is supposed to address the problem, not apportion blame. But he said the money is now a part of the official system and had been effectively laundered.
Wow, so it wasn’t Turbo Timmy, the AIG rescue, the alphabet soup of Fed currency facilities or the currency swaps that saved the global banking system. The marginal suppliers of capital, according to the UN, were drug lords. That means that the UN is saying that the banks went into the money-laundering business on a much greater scale than before as a matter of survival. I would presume if this is accurate, it would also mean terrorist groups were able to more more money through the banking system.Of course, Costa has been raising this alarm since January 2009. I'm not sure why this story is only now getting attention eleven months later (of course, I have some pretty damn good ideas as to why) but it's still a problem. The only new information since January is the exact amount of cash involved: $352 billion. Guess it took the UNODC that long to crunch the numbers. Costa doesn't want to name names, of course...but I'm thinking there are those who most certainly want him to do so.