HSBC Banks Makes Millions Freely Laundering Drug Money But Thing Are Not So Easy For Low-Level Launderers

At last report, nobody at HSBC was missing any digits.

By Michael Daly
The Daily Beast (2/19/15)

After the mega-bank HSBC was caught laundering $881 million in narco-cash, the Sinaloa cartel began funneling a big chunk of its profits through a cash-for-gold-for-cash scheme whose alleged ringleaders include a fretful fellow with the alias “Walt Disney.”

Also known more familiarly as Don Walt, Carlos Parra-Pedroza and 31 others are said to have laundered more than $101 million in cartel bucks, in what the U.S. Attorney in Chicago terms a money-laundering organization (MLO).

And, unlike HSBC, Don Walt and his codefendants are most definitely not considered too big to jail.

Where HSBC got off with a fine, the MLO members face up to 20 years for laundering one-eighth the amount.

And, to compound the inequity, the cartel itself treats bankers far more gingerly than it does the likes of Don Walt.

The cartel is not known to have caused anybody in HSBC to fear being murdered or maimed even as the bank caused the drug lords to lose millions.

But just the prospect in being a day late in a transaction or causing the cartel to lose a paltry few thousand dollars caused Don Walt to quake.

“And if I tell them we always pay them on Tuesday [but] it’s not going to be until Wednesday, they’ll truly kill me,” Don Walt was recorded telling a confidential informant.

Don Walt complained that cartel kings who lack even a grammar-school education had difficulty understanding complications that arose in the MOL’s generally simple scheme: Drug proceeds were used to purchase 24K scrap gold and gold jewelry, which was Fed Ex-ed to a refinery where it was melted down. The refinery then paid the prevailing price per ounce to the supposed suppliers in Mexico.

They’re going to cut our balls off

“The bad thing is that these guys don’t even know the word ‘school,’ only know how to shoot,” Don Walt said on the recording.

He explained that the cartel was liable to hold you responsible if law enforcement seized the cash—even if the dough had not yet come into your possession and you were in no way to blame.

“The reason why I’m scared is because then they’re going to cut our balls off without it being our fault,” Don Walt said. “They’re good at beating everyone up…And they’re good at saying, ‘It was you.’”

The cartel has a telling vernacular for coming under investigation by law enforcement, a twist on the title of a popular TV series.

And an MLO boss such as Don Walt could not blame his underlings if the truth proved to be other than it was presented.

“You lie to me, I relay the lies and I’m the one who gets it,” Don Walt said.

A drug lord sent the MLO a BBM saying, “Stop fucking around. I made the deal with you and I’m holding you accountable.”

Don Walt spoke of one unfortunate courier who had been convinced by the cartel to accept full responsibility for what he could not possibly have prevented.

“I think they even cut his fingers off,” Don Walt reported. “Even I would’ve agreed.”
At last report, nobody at HSBC was missing any digits …

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