The Chinese Banking System and the Mexican Cartels

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

It is said that in banking everything is interconnected. In a number of reports, it may be a scary premise. It is being alleged that the Mexican cartels, in order to avoid detection by both Mexican and American auorities going after their assets, are putting them in countries where they are inaccessible. One of these countries may be China. There are good reasons why this may be possible. First, the Chinese banking system is largely inaccessible to scrutiny from just about anybody. No western power can force China to reveal any information, and no one (save the Chinese government itself) can question the bank accounts of any clients—be they individuals or whole governments—in Chinese banks.

One excellent example of this lack of access is North Korea. U.S. intelligence is thoroughly convinced that the North Korean government has numerous bank accounts in China under assumed names (and may not even under assumed names). When the United States and its allies have tried to punish North Korea with sanctions, they have had little effect since they cannot get at North Korea’s bank accounts. However, whenever the North Korean regime “displeased” the Chinese government, the Chinese government seems to know which accounts belong to North Korea. In one radio broadcast, the Chinese government announced that was suspending some bank accounts. We do not know which bank accounts, but after this action the North Korean government did not conduct the threatened launch of a missile a day after these bank accounts were suspended.

Given this lack of transparency, it becomes easy for Mexican cartels to launder their money into the Chinese banking system while claiming that their ill-gotten money is “legitimate” in the form of import-export accounts. So how the United States, Mexico and the West even begin to find where the cartel money has gone, and how can they seize it if China or other governments do not cooperate in releasing information on the accounts? In the past, the Chinese government has cooperated in regards to bank accounts owned by Chinese crime syndicates. But even in this regards it is touch and go—the Chinese government only did so because the Chinese government had a reason for fighting the Chinese crime syndicates themselves. As the United States and its friends and allies are making a concerted effort at fighting drug trafficking, so then are the Mexican cartels and other criminal organizations are making a global effort at stashing their ill-gotten loot.

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