The US attorney Daniel Silva who prosecuted a California subsidiary of Netherlands-based Rabobank has been talking to the press about money-laundering on the border between the US and Mexico.

Trade-based money laundering (TBML) featured in Rabobank National Association’s misdemeanours according to court papers (Trade-Based Financial Crime, 14 February 2018) while Silva says TBML is one of the two main money laundering typologies employed to move drug proceeds across the border.

Funnel accounts

Silva told Voice of San Diego that the use so-called funnel accounts is one money laundering technique used by organised drug gangs.  This involves setting up a bank account that people from different states can access.

This allows criminals to deposit money from Chicago and New York, for example, into the same account, where it is withdrawn by someone in San Diego, who then smuggles the money across the border into Mexico.

Garment trade

Silva says the other form of money laundering frequently used on the border is TBML. The attorney explains that because there is so much legitimate trade on the border, “it’s easy for someone to over- or under-invoice goods to cover up monetary transactions.”

He notes several cases in the Los Angeles garment district (Trade-Based Financial Crime, 3 February 2017), where the Sinaloa cartel used several businesses that imported goods from Mexico to move their money from drug sales, kidnappings and other illegal activities.