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Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations

mercredi 3 décembre 2014

Markets

Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations

U.S. Agency Probes Whether Unit of Portuguese Lender Moved Money for Gadhafi’s Inner Circle

By Margot Patrick, Patricia Kowsmann and David Enrich
Dec. 1, 2014 6:17 a.m. ET

As investigators sift through the wreckage of Banco Espírito Santo SA, their focus is expanding beyond the alleged fraud and accounting problems that doomed the large Portuguese lender. They also are looking into whether the bank was involved in money-laundering activities in multiple countries, according to people familiar with the investigations.

The web of money-laundering investigations, most of them previously unreported, highlight the lengths to which Banco Espírito Santo went to win business in parts of the world that were shunned by rival lenders, according to former bank officials. And they mean that remnants of the bank, as well as some former executives and business partners, face a new level of government scrutiny and, potentially, penalties as the probes unfold.

New York prosecutors and a federal grand jury are looking into whether Banco Espírito Santo’s Miami-based banking unit was used to launder money by a Venezuelan businessman who was one of the bank’s biggest clients, according to people familiar with that probe.

[...] In Switzerland, the attorney general’s office searched Espírito Santo offices in September in a money-laundering investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the attorney general confirmed inspections were carried out related to Espírito Santo “for suspicion of money laundering” but wouldn’t elaborate.

In Libya, Banco Espírito Santo’s Aman Bank has attracted scrutiny from investigators looking into whether the bank helped funnel money out of the country for former leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle, according to people familiar with the matter. Lire la suite.


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