Sessions is tough on crime and Mexico — but not big banks who let cartels launder money

Sessions is tough on crime and Mexico — but not big banks who let  cartels launder money
Source: AP
Source: AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is tough on crime. He's tough on immigration. His Justice Department wants to bring back the strictest penalties issuable for low-level drug offenses while Immigration and Customs Enforcement ramps up their controversial raids on undocumented immigrants who have committed no crime.

Unless, that is, it's a bank committing crimes. 

Sessions recently took a trip to the border where he railed against sanctuary cities.
Source: 
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice agreed not to prosecute Citigroup's Mexican subsidiary Banamex, which failed to bring attention to over a billion dollars in strange transactions flowing into Mexican accounts. Instead, the bank has to pay a fine about equal to how much money they made on the deals, and promise to not do it again.

In the past, Banamex has turned a blind eye to money laundering by Mexican cartels. The laundering often includes incidences of hundreds of small transactions at a time coming from different senders and collating in massive overseas accounts. In one of the latest cases, for example, a beneficiary collected $824,102 from over 950 senders in 40 states.

So while undocumented immigrants who have committed no crimes are being deported at record rates, banks that have historically facilitated money laundering through drug cartels are getting a slap on the wrist. 

It's impossible to know exactly how many transactions exactly might have been from criminal money laundering on behalf of individual account holders or by cartels. We'll never know. Those kinds of details remain secret when the Justice Department decides not to prosecute.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jack Smith IV

Jack Smith IV is a senior writer covering technology and inequality. Send tips, comments and feedback to jack@mic.com.

MORE FROM

White House boots press from ethically questionable Trump International Hotel fundraiser

Trump escalated his war with the national media on Wednesday, kicking them out of his first re-election fundraiser.

Donald Trump claims immigration crackdown is "liberating towns" from gangs

But what Trump said just doesn't shake up.

Trump is already using James O'Keefe's CNN sting video to raise money for 2020

He also helped fund the group that made the video.

As White House election integrity panel begins work, civil rights watchdogs set up a hotline

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law says the Trump panel is "a dog whistle" for voter suppression.

Ethics group sues for Trump International Hotel records ahead of Republican Party fundraiser

American Oversight seeks communications between the Trump Organization and the government.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO. Then the EPA changed course on a pesticide ban.

Scott Pruitt announced this week that the EPA will not ban a common pesticide sold by Dow Chemical.

White House boots press from ethically questionable Trump International Hotel fundraiser

Trump escalated his war with the national media on Wednesday, kicking them out of his first re-election fundraiser.

Donald Trump claims immigration crackdown is "liberating towns" from gangs

But what Trump said just doesn't shake up.

Trump is already using James O'Keefe's CNN sting video to raise money for 2020

He also helped fund the group that made the video.

As White House election integrity panel begins work, civil rights watchdogs set up a hotline

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law says the Trump panel is "a dog whistle" for voter suppression.

Ethics group sues for Trump International Hotel records ahead of Republican Party fundraiser

American Oversight seeks communications between the Trump Organization and the government.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO. Then the EPA changed course on a pesticide ban.

Scott Pruitt announced this week that the EPA will not ban a common pesticide sold by Dow Chemical.