Argentinas largest bank caught up in alleged trade-based money laundering

Trade-based money laundering appears to be central to an alleged scheme involving the New York branch of Argentina’s largest bank.

There are no indications that Banco de la Nación is under investigation or knew of any money laundering schemes operating through the bank.

Civil complaint
The alleged money-laundering scheme emerged when the US authorities moved to seize about US$45,000 from a bank account at Banco de la Nación held by La Moneta Cambio, an Argentina-based money transmitter.

In a civil complaint filed in the US, prosecutors say an alleged money-laundering scheme was operated by an Argentinian citizen, German Coppola, who worked with La Moneta to move about US$60 million through a network of US companies, between 2009 and 2011.

Coppola denies the allegations and is discussing a possible settlement with the US authorities, according to court filings.

The complaint draws attention to trade-based money laundering, saying that La Moneta’s accounts at that bank “appear to be similar with activity experienced in the accounts owned by Coppola and appear to be consistent with the Black Market Peso Exchange,” (BMPE).

How it works
The BMPE starts with US dollars being laundered into the US financial system by a peso broker. The broker then ‘sells’ these dollars to Colombia who need the hard currency to buy US goods for export. Goods ready for export are often paid for by the peso broker, using purchased narcotics dollars, on behalf of the Colombian importer.
This underground financial and trade financing system is a major, perhaps even the single largest vehicle, for laundering the wholesale proceeds of narcotics trafficked to the US.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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