Normally, a bank has to keep refreshing its money stock, because customers come and take money out, but hardly any money comes in but the Rabobank in Calexico has too much money in the safe. Rabobank is a small player in the American banking business with only 119 offices in agricultural parts of California, and the main credit holders are nearby farmers.1 The amount of cash being deposited by the Calexican ‘farmers’ is disproportionate and the office needs a least one security truck a week to get of all the money from the bank.
”The Dutch attorney, Göran Sluiter, took it one step further, he filed a lawsuit where he accused the bank of being an accomplice in a murder as well as drug trade related criminal activities”
The question is; what is going on in Calexico? The American Federal police asked the exact same question. Clearly, the Federal police found something, as the bank was investigated on the suspicion of money laundering and funding Mexican drug cartels.2 They shut down the bank. This is not a surprise considering that the American-Mexican border region is known for its drug trade, drug related violence, money laundering and other illegal activities. Rabobank was accused of failing to keep track of the bank’s cash flow and not investigating the extremely high amounts of money being deposited. The Dutch attorney, Göran Sluiter, took it one step further, he filed a lawsuit where he accused the bank of being an accomplice in a murder as well as drug trade related criminal activities. In his eyes, the bank helped the Mexican Sineloa drug cartel in the neighbouring town of Mexicali by laundering drug money.3
A law firm accusing a bank with such crimes sounds quite extraordinary, but it isn’t. In 2012, the British HSBC bank made a deal with the American justice department, where the bank paid a settlement of 881 million dollars to escape further charges. The bank had been found guilty of laundering drug money from Columbian and Mexican cartels.
But can a bank be held responsible for murder, if a person involved in the murder launders his money in the bank? Liability includes the intention. Did Rabobank have the intention of killing Mexican people? I think not, if the Federal Police find Rabobank guilty of laundering drug money, it is a crime, but the space between laundering money and committing a murder is enormous.
But what are the odds of Rabobank being found guilty of murder? In general unlikely, even if the American Federal Police investigated the cash flow of the Calexican bank and the possible Mexican leads, they won’t charge the Rabobank with murder but the Dutch attorney Sluiter has faith in the American justice department. He hopes that, if the Rabobank is found guilty, they will come up with a deal as with the British HSBC bank. A Rabobank spokesman said to Bloomberg that the company would cooperate with the investigators.
”I think not, if the Federal Police find Rabobank guilty of laundering drug money, it is a crime, but the space between laundering money and committing a murder is enormous”
2. Schoenberg, T. en Hamilton, J. (26 oktober 2015) ‘Money loundering probe at Mexican Border Casts Cloud over Rabobank’ Bloomberg. Geraadpleegd op 20 februari 2017 van: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-26/cash-filled-trucks-leaving-calexico-cast-cloud-over-rabobank
3. Van de Water, M. (2 februari 2017) ‘Blijkbaar is het voor banken te ingewikkeld hier aan de grens’ Volkskrant. Geraadpleegd op 19 februari 2017 van: https://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/-blijkbaar-is-het-voor-banken-te-ingewikkeld-hier-aan-de-grens~a4457153/