I just knew Ritchie would get this wrong.

Ahem:

But as the Observer reported yesterday, US bank Wachovia, now parts of Wells Fargo, money laundered hundreds of billions for Mexican drug gangs in the USA.

No, that\’s not what happened. And you can find out what did happen simply by reading that very Observer report.

\”For the time period of 1 May 2004 through 31 May 2007, Wachovia processed at least $$373.6bn in CDCs, $4.7bn in bulk cash\” – a total of more than $378.3bn, a sum that dwarfs the budgets debated by US state and UK local authorities to provide services to citizens.

The total amount of money handled was in the hundreds of billions.

The investigation has identified that at least $110m in drug proceeds were funnelled through the CDC accounts held at Wachovia.\”

The amount that has been identified as drug proceeds is a hundred million and change.

Now I\’m perfectly willing to believe that there was more drug money laundering than has so far been uncovered. But absolutely nobody, other than the Murphmeister, is quite so doolally as to think that the entire amount of hundreds of billions was the laundering of drug money.

Shouldn\’t a leading forensic accountant be able to tell the difference between these two propositions?

Between 100% of a flow of money being drug cash and 0.025% of it being so?

12 thoughts on “I just knew Ritchie would get this wrong.”

  1. Note that Murphy says that “Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo, money laundered” – implying deliberate involvement by Wachovia.

    The Observer article merely says that the money was “laundered through” Wachovia – i.e. the drugs people knew what they were doing, but we don’t know whether or not Wachovia knew.

  2. Interesting though that according to the Observer article the bank collapse would have been a lot worse were it not for all the drug money providing extra liquidity.

  3. Matthew, Tim’s link doesn’t seem to work, but it’s still on Murphy’s blog.

    Tim adds: As an experiment, I’m linking to Murph’s duplicate outlet.

  4. As far as I can see, Murphy has penned a pretty bad libel against that bank. Does he need a lawyer?

  5. If nothing else it doesn’t require a brain the size of a planet to deduce that the best way to launder a (relatively) small amount of money is inside a much bigger stream of the same.

  6. Surreptitious Evil

    RM,

    And, clearly, if you want to hide $100 million or more, you are going to need a truly enormous stream of funds, such as that operated by a large bank, to use as the shield.

  7. The global opiate market is around $65 billion annually. I have no idea how much of this flows through Mexican money changers, but I doubt it is more than 10% a year.

  8. http://www.miketodd.net/encyc/million.htm

    Seems more than a few have a different conception of what is a billion.

    However arts graduates have no understanding of numbers, which is why they chose the route they did. Some inevitably end up as journalists, where the only ability in counting required is in the completion of expense claims.

  9. I do not know what Richard Murphy is smoking.

    I do not approve of what Richard Murphy is smoking.

    But I do want some, because it’s obviously better than what can be had around here.

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