Grand Jury investigating Rabobank in money laundering probe

May 5, 2016

By KAREN VELIE

A federal grand jury is questioning former and current employees of Rabobank branches in San Luis Obispo County as part of an investigation into allegations of money laundering for Mexican drug cartels.

Beginning in about 2010, bank management would send armored trucks weekly to a branch in Calexico, a tiny town just across the border from Mexicali, to pick up truck loads of cash. Wire transfers were then sent from the Rabobank in Calexico to customers across the border, according to a former Rabobank insider.

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 requires banks in the United States to work with the government to detect and prevent money laundering. But, bank officials allegedly instructed employees at a Rabobank in San Luis Obispo County, where statewide compliance checks occurred, to ignore signs of money laundering, the insider said.

These orders, not only permitted the bank to increase profits, but also allegedly allowed tens of million of dollars in drug money to be funneled across the border, the insider said.

In grand jury interviews with former bank employees, questions about failures by bank employees to properly report suspicious activity appeared to be focused on the bank’s former chief executive officer Ronald Blok, the Financial Intelligence Unit’s Manager Stephen Byron and bank’s former chief compliance officer Laura Akahoshi, the insider said.

Rabobank is already under a type of probation after an investigation by the Justice Department resulted in a $475 million penalty in 2013 for manipulation and false reporting charges. Because of a deferred prosecution agreement, Rabobank officials were able to escape criminal charges as long as the bank avoids further legal troubles in the United States until the agreement expires on Oct. 29.

With more than $550 billion in assets, Rabobank is a global financial services provider headquartered in the Netherlands. In 2002, Rabobank acquired several banks in California. Rabobank N.A. now has 119 locations throughout California.

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Rambunctious

Dang it! please don’t tell me a bank change is in my future. Oh well what good is a bank that won’t open their drive up teller until 9:00 AM anyhow.


achillesheal

If the allegations are true, rabobank needs to lose its banking charter and be wiped out of existence.


These cartels are violent murderous thugs. Any American caught aiding the drug cartels should be have his citizenship revoked and deported to Mexico.


mkaney

Hey folks, maybe now you’ll be a little more receptive to the accusations that the sheriff’s department and many city police officers are CROOKED and also in collusion with the cartels. The amount of false legitimacy enjoyed by many public officials in this area is mind boggling.


ASK MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PANGA BOATS, and not in the context of your dislike of the Mexicans, but in the context of how are people here involved!


Perspicacious

Does anybody know where this could possibly lead with regards to depositors? Should I get my money out?


tomsquawk

no; RB will pay their fine and go back to business as usual


achillesheal

As a matter of security, probably no. As a matter of ethics, yes.


ToHellinaHandBasket

Next, they should investigate Adam Hill and his “wife” Dee Torres Hill. So should CPS when it comes to her children.


Will they? Nawwwwww…..


Jorge Estrada

475 million dollar penalty? Sounds like the bean counters are going to get a big fat bonus.


tomsquawk

no. 475 is just the cost of doing business


sloguy11

It’s about time the whistle was blown, I was basically told to ignore the red flags and do the transactions.


achillesheal

Are you a rabobank employee?


justbeware

Thank you Karen for another great story on seemingly never-ending local corruption.

A federal grand jury investigation is big news around here.


jonhartz

What do you expect from an institution named “Rob A Bank”?