“Rabobank had an obligation to shine light on suspected drug traffickers, money launderers and organized crime,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement. “Instead, this bank deliberately allowed hundreds of millions of dollars of suspicious cash transactions and wire transfers to flow through its branches and took measures to hide this activity from regulators.”
A Netherlands-based bank has agreed to forfeit more than hundreds of millions of dollars for laundering drug money at branches near the California border with Mexico.
The company admitted that several of its Southern California border-area branches laundered money for international drug traffickers, failed to properly investigate the suspicious transactions and then deceived and obstructed federal investigators who were on the verge of discovering the illicit activity.
On Wednesday, the bank pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge in U.S. District Court in San Diego and agreed to forfeit more than $368 million, the largest financial penalty ever levied in a federal courtroom in the San Diego region.
The massive forfeiture sum corresponds to the estimated amount of suspicious transactions that went unchecked over a four-year period, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.