A major investigation is underway to identify people and countries who move dirty money around the world in violation of international money laundering laws.
More than 100 bank accounts have been seized and suspected to be used to launder millions of dollars in laundered proceeds.The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has not named any specific individuals, but it has confirmed through a spokesman for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it is part of the “largest national criminal case involving laundering.”
The investigation is being conducted with assistance from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies around the world.
Authorities suspect members of a Mexican drug gang to be behind the suspected bank fraud scheme and organised crime.
According to ICIJ, bank accounts were found in a Mexican apartment, while full statements of beneficiaries were found in a Cyprus bank.
Large numbers of accounts of Mexican nationals may also have been swindled overseas, ICIJ reports.
The investigation focuses on the US bank accounts of two Mexican nationals. The investigation also includes information from ICIJ and other sources.
Among those who were arrested or charged is Raul Guevara-Peña, a business associate of the group to be investigated.
He was extradited in June from his home in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, just south of the US border. He was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
And 18 Mexican nationals have been arrested in connection with bank fraud tied to Mexico. The authorities think that they are responsible for stealing $500 million in American dollars and then using the money to hide illegal activities.
Another allegation alleges that Mexican business associates of the suspects siphoned off $26 million to Madrid in a money laundering scheme.
New York federal prosecutor Eric T. Schneiderman said: “The money was laundered here.“It was laundered in Washington, it was laundered in New York, but it was also laundered in other places, including across the globe.”
Meanwhile, investigations of Mexico are continuing.
Criminals have been involved in state-run internet bank accounts, where they were able to use fraudulent invoices to embezzle funds from the state and institutions.
Grupo Galindo, Mexico’s largest internet bank, released a statement saying: “In light of our year-end financial reporting, we found that 20 new accounts have been opened.“We regret the disruptions of this criminal activity, which affects members of the public, the customers of our banking system and our clients.”