American Express Global Private Bank - The Cuba, Drug Cartel, Money Laundering Mexico & Middle East Connection
I was trying to sort out where this Global Private Bank fell within the context of American Express. My research led me to data from 2006 listing an address of 1111 Brickell Avenue Suite 600, Miami, FL and the phone number. It was established in 1982 with a Latin HQ having 90 local employees and managing 400 others. Its parent company was listed as American Express, headquarted in NYC. I also discovered it was, at one point, headed by Mr. Sergio J. Masvidal, President & CEO. American Express' website listed a press release confirming this data, although the conglomerate's name was listed as American Express Bank, Ltd. (*1)
The description of American Express Global Private bank from my source read as follows:
"Known for its travel-related services, American Express is actually a diversified financial services company. It provides financial advisory services, brokerage, asset management, and issues its famous charge cards as well as revolving-credit cards. The American Express Private Bank division is an off-shore banking group operating various divisions under the laws of the Cayman Islands, the Duchy of Luxembourg and other governments. The Private Bank is not available to residents or citizens of the United States."
I was naturally inclined to delve in a little further. Who was this Sergio J. Masvidal and his role? The Miami Today surfaced a September 1, 2005 article explaining Mr. Masvidal was appointed the Vice Chairman of NYC-based American Express Bank, Ltd., an American Express International banking subsidiary, and he would continue in his role as chairman and president of AEBI. (*2)
I was quite curious about Mr. Masvidal and found several political contributions. What caught my eye was the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee (*3). The committee had the same address listed as his Sergio's American Express office.
The U.S.-Cuba Democracy Polital Action Committee had the same address listed as his Sergio's office and the data speaks for itself. The supporters, courtesy of the contribution list was quite shocking along with all of the actual contributions to campaigns.
I found a 1998 United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention report (*4) originally titled, "Financial Havens, Bank Secrecy and Money Laundering" but reissued as: "Double Issue 34 and 35 of the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Newsletter, Issue 8 of the UNDCP Technical Services"
The report on American Express Bank International begins:
"In June 1994, Antonio Giraldi and Lourdes Reategui, officials within American Express Bank International (AEBI), were convicted of laundering drug proceeds obtained from trafficking by Columbian and Mexican individuals. The origin of the money was concealed and disguised by the two banking officers, who developed both a business and a personal relationship with Ricardo Aguirre Villagomez, the main money launderer and front man of the Gulf Cartel."
Could this be true? Yes. The case file was verified. (*5)
Giraldi's testimony before the U. S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Hearings On Private Banking and Money Laundering: A Case Study of Opportunities & Vulnerabilities November 10, 1999. (*6)
There were other financial entities for whom Giraldi was employed. (*7)
Was this what led to the $1.1B sale to Standard Chartered in September of 2007? (*8)
The deal reported closed as of the end of February 2008 . It certainly resolved the outstanding questions as to exactly when and why American Express dumped the bank and then less than a year later became a "bank holding company".
But it still didn't answer the question as to who some of the real customers of this original "Global Private Bank" were. That question lead to the press release on July 2, 2007 (*9) from the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain. (*10)
And there you have it: Drugs, Cuba, Money Laundering, Mexico and the Middle East. It really makes your life so rewarding, doesn't it?
(*3) Original Link was here and then POOF! gone!! http://www.amlcft.com/UN%20ODCCP%20Financial%20Havens%20Banking%20Secrecy%20and%20Money%20Laundering.pdf
Copy is here: http://www.americansexpressed.com/docs/UN-ODCCP-Financial-Havens-Banking-Secrecy-and-Money-Laundering.pdf
Tags: politics, corruption, american express, financial crimes, money laundering, drug money, miami, american express bank, credit cards, enforcement actions, wall street, department of justice, doj, federal reserve, utah, fines, toxic assets, tarp, talf, bailo
Marked as: approved
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