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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 04:03 AM
Original message
WaPo: Criminal Probe of Riggs Bank Underway
Criminal Probe of Riggs Bank Underway
Justice Department Is Looking Into Officers, Directors

By Kathleen Day
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 21, 2004; Page E01

The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into possible wrongdoing at Riggs Bank, which has already paid a $25 million civil penalty for its failures to abide by laws designed to prevent money laundering.

The investigation was detailed in a letter earlier this month from the U.S. attorney for the District to federal bank regulators, asking them to put on hold their own investigation into the bank and its directors and senior management "to avoid any potential adverse impact" on the Justice Department probe. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Washington Post.

The U.S. attorney's office is examining the role of current and former executives and directors of Riggs Bank and its parent company, sources familiar with the probe confirmed yesterday.

The goal is to determine which people, if any, should be held accountable for the bank company's years-long failure to comply with federal laws designed to deter money laundering and other questionable activities that have surfaced in ongoing Senate and federal probes, said sources who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified because the investigation is continuing.


U.S. Attorney for the District Kenneth L. Wainstein asked federal bank regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) -- the division of the U.S. Treasury that regulates banks -- to suspend its probe of the role current and former "directors and senior management of the bank and its holding company may have played in soliciting certain accounts, authorizing transactions in them, and overseeing compliance with law, regulation and safe and sound banking practices; and the personal use of bank assets by certain individuals." According to sources, a similar letter was sent to the Federal Reserve Board.

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Tight_rope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 04:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good catch...seem usually investages the Bush Unlce Bank...
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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 04:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Uncle Bush, aka The director That Shall Not Be Named
Edited on Sat Aug-21-04 04:18 AM by Snazzy
Which makes me suspicious about this, like anything Asscroft touches. Possible that one of the other agencies was about to name him, or name some part of the many many other Bushco. connections to this mostly under the radar but massive scandal.

But the word criminal is good.


Edit: Thread on another story/thread today about Pinochet and Riggs, which has more breadcrumbs leading to the many past Riggs DU threads:

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #2

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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. For the record: Uncle Jonathan Bush
is also a Skull and Boner.

Lest anyone forget.
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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Missed this last week, Hartford Courant: The Skull, And Skull And Bones
The Skull, And Skull And Bones
Tale Of Yale Society And Geronimo Won't Die

August 16, 2004
By KIM MARTINEAU, Courant Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN -- One "Tomb" is a symbol of the establishment. It has turned out presidents, Supreme Court justices and captains of industry. The other tomb is a symbol of resistance - the spot where the last great Apache warrior is buried.

More than a thousand miles apart, the two tombs may hold the secret to an old legend that has plagued several presidential elections. Did Prescott Bush, the president's grandfather, lead a foray into Geronimo's tomb in Fort Sill, Okla., take the leader's skull back to New Haven and stash it inside the Skull and Bones Tomb - a windowless building on High Street - as a trophy? Is the skull there now? Was it ever?


Though he personally doubts the rumors are true, an anthropology professor at the University of Tulsa is now asking the federal government for an investigation. Garrick Bailey, a member of the board that oversees the return of Indian remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, asked the National Park Service last month to look into the allegations


The informant sent Anderson pictures of a glass display case containing bones, stirrups, a horse bit and what the informant claimed to be Geronimo's skull. Anderson also received a diary-like account of the raid: "An axe pried open the iron door of the tomb and ... Bush entered and started to dig. ...The Skull was fairly clean, having only some flesh inside and a little hair."

According to Anderson, he arranged to meet with Jonathan Bush, the president's uncle, in New York City. Anderson said Bush indicated he could get the skull. Bush ultimately presented the skull, bridle and stirrups. But the skull looked too small to be Geronimo's.


(p/w help: /)
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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
4. See also BBC snip:
Edited on Sat Aug-21-04 09:11 AM by emad aisat sana
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
5. BFEE business plan: Drugs, Oil & War = $$$
The Bush Organized Crime Family makes its nut by going where the BIG money is. Poppy's pal Manny Noriega helped launder billions in coke money, Poppy's pal Saddam Hussein helped transform billions in U.S. "agricultural credits" into arms buys, and Poppy's friends The Seven Sisters help move the earth's treasures out of the bank accounts of the poorest countries and into the private accounts of BFEE-selected dick-taters. Nice work, if you can stomach it. -- Octafish

Riggs Investigation Prompts Inquiry Into 3 Oil Firms

By Kathleen Day
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 5, 2004; Page E01

Federal regulators are probing at least three of the nation's largest oil companies -- Marathon Oil Corp., Amerada Hess Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. -- for possible violations of securities law prohibiting bribes to foreign government officials.

The Securities and Exchange Commission notified the companies of the probe by letter within the past two weeks, following the release of a Senate report that described transactions handled by Riggs Bank involving the oil companies and the dictator of Equatorial Guinea and his family, spokesmen for the companies confirmed yesterday.

A grand jury in the District is also investigating Riggs's handling of the Equatorial Guinea accounts.

The Senate inquiry, which included the report and a subsequent hearing, is part of a series of ongoing investigations by Congress, bank regulators and the Justice Department into Riggs Bank and its once-prestigious embassy banking division for long-standing violations of laws designed to prevent money laundering.

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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. BCCI = Mossad operation run by KGB via Stasi's Marcus Wolf
in association with Kissinger, Richard Perle, Poppy and Thatcher. Cold War atrocities perpetrated by these shits never prosecuted in the criminal law courts....YET.

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gandalf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Is this info in the public domain?
I guess I won't find this in the Senate report on BCCI...?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. Chile Asks Pinochet to Explain $8 Million US Bank Accounts

VOA News
21 Aug 2004, 10:37 UTC

Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet reportedly is the target of an investigation in his homeland probing up U.S. bank accounts controlled by the ex-president.
Authorities have not released any details of the case, but legal sources in Chile confirmed that Gen. Pinochet was ordered to answer questions by a top Chilean judge Friday.

The deposed Chilean leader is said to have kept up to $8 million in a bank here in Washington. A recent U.S. Senate report accused the Riggs Bank of helping the retired general conceal the money between 1994 and 2002, including the time he spent under house arrest in London while fighting charges that he committed crimes against humanity while in power in Santiago.

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-04 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. The bank that liked to say yes to the dirty cash of Third World dictators


The Senate report on the Riggs scandal reads like a novel. Here is a selection of some of the incredible tales.

* When asked if it held accounts for the Pinochet family, the bank simply changed the accounts to General Pinochet and his wife's second surname, Ugarte, so they did not show up on searches.

* The Riggs account manager for Africa, a Kenyan called Simon Keriri, was finally sacked from the bank in January after he was found to have had a financial relationship with the President of Equatorial Guinea. He had even moved the President's money through his own wife's offshore account. Earlier this month, Mr Keriri invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions from a US Senate panel investigating the scandal.

* On six occasions between 2000 and 2002, Riggs accepted cash deposits for an account controlled by President Obiang. The cash was brought into the bank in suitcases by Mr Keriri. On several occasions, deposits were made of $3m at a time. Since $1m in notes weighs at least 20lb, these deposits would have weighed more than 60lb each.

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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. World Socialist roundup
(Not bad--they get into the Saudi's and BFEE links, unlike most articles)

Bank with close ties to Bush administration engulfed in scandal
By Joseph Kay
24 August 2004


The relationship of Riggs to the Bush administration is more than tangential. Riggs owns a money management firm, J. Bush & Co., operated by Jonathan Bush, the brother of George H.W. Bush and the current presidents uncle.

Jonathan Bush played a very important role in helping find investors for the various failed oil businesses that George W. Bush ran before he began his career in politics. Jonathan Bush also helped raise money for George H.W. Bush and is a former chair of the New York Republican State Finance Committee. In 2000, he was briefly named president and CEO of Riggs Investment Management Company (RIMCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Riggs Bank.


Moreover, Riggs is owned by the Allbritton family, a Texas family with close ties to the Republican establishment. Joe Allbritton, the former head of Riggs who bought the bank in the mid-1970s, is a friend of the Bush family. His son, Robert Allbritton, is the current chairman and CEO.

The Allbritton family is known among the Washington elite for the party it traditionally holds after the annual Alfalfa Club dinner, hosted to mark the birthday of Robert E. Lee, the southern general in the Civil War. The New York Times (A Washington Bank, A Global Mess, April 11, 2004) notes, The Alfalfa roster includes presidents, politicians, diplomats and business impresarios, all bound together by being either formidably influential or fabulously rich. Attendees have included luminaries like Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabias ambassador to the United States; Jack Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America; and others with surnames like Greenspan, Kissinger and Rehnquist. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made their first joint public appearance after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Alfalfa gathering in 2002.


A television station also owned by Allbritton was in the news earlier this year after it refused to air an ad critical of the Bush administrations policy in Iraq.

Perhaps even more than the Enron scandal, the Riggs scandal is a deeply political scandal. No doubt, much of what went on at Riggs remains to be uncovered. With the announced sale of Riggs to PNL, which will be completed by early next year, the owners of the bank are clearly attempting to contain the scandals fallout.

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. This is a really good article
According to the subcommittee report, The bank leadership permitted become closely involved with EG officials and business activities, including advising the EG government on financial matters and becoming the sole signatory on an EG account holding substantial funds. The bank exercised such lax oversight of the account managers activities that, among other misconduct, the account manager was able to wire transfer more than $1 million from the EG oil account at Riggs to another bank for an account opened in the name of Jadini Holdings, an offshore corporation controlled by the account managers wife.

In addition to its dealings with the Saudi royal family and Equatorial Guineas dictator, Riggs had a close relationship with the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet held numerous active accounts at Riggs between 1994 and 2002, even while he was under house arrest in Britain and his assets were supposedly frozen.

According to the subcommittee report, The aggregate deposits in the Pinochet accounts at Riggs ranged from $4 to $8 million at a time.... Riggs account managers took actions consistent with helping Mr. Pinochet to evade legal proceedings seeking to discover and attach his bank accounts.... Riggs opened multiple accounts and accepted millions of dollars in deposits from Mr. Pinochet with no serious inquiry into questions regarding the source of his wealth; helped him set up offshore shell corporations and open accounts in the names of those corporations to disguise his control of the accounts; altered the names of his personal accounts to disguise their ownership; transferred $1.6 million from London to the United States while Mr. Pinochet was in detention and the subject of a court order to attach his bank accounts; conducted transactions through Riggs own accounts to hide Mr. Pinochets involvement in some cash transactions; and delivered over $1.9 million in cashiers checks to Mr. Pinochet in Chile to enable him to obtain substantial cash payments from banks in that country.

The scope of the corruption, money-laundering and other suspicious activities is indeed astonishing. While it was engaged in these activities, the bank operated under the not-so-watchful eye of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In spite of clear indications of regulatory violations at least as early as 1997, the OCC took no actions.

Particularly closely involved with the OCCs investigation into the Pinochet accounts was the comptrollers examiner-in-charge, R. Ashley Lee, who worked at the OCC from 1998 to October 2002. According to the subcommittee report, In 2001, ...advised more senior OCC personnel against taking a formal enforcement action against Riggs, because the bank had promised to correct identified AML deficiencies. In 2002, he ordered examiners not to include a memorandum or work papers on the Pinochet examination to the OCCs electronic database.
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Snazzy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. New ICP letter--Greenspan and PNC
Dear Secretary Johnson, and Governors of the FRB:

On behalf of Inner City Press/Community on the Move and its members and affiliates, and the Fair Finance Watch (collectively, "ICP"), and in connection with the applications of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., PNC Bancorp, Inc. and their affiliates to acquire Riggs National Corporation and Riggs Bank National Association, this is a second timely comment, including a formal request that Chairman Greenspan recuse himself from the PNC - Riggs proceeding. It should first be noted that since ICP's first comment, the Washington Post of August 21, 2004, has reported on the widening criminal investigation of Riggs. "The Post's Saturday story, citing a letter to federal bank regulators from the District of Columbia's U.S. attorney's office, said the investigation includes Joe Albritton, Riggs' largest shareholder, his wife, Barbara, and son, Robert, who is chairman of Riggs... A lengthy probe could affect the company's pending acquisition by PNC Financial Services (PNC) for $779 million. The deal was announced in mid-July. Riggs has already paid a $25 million civil penalty to the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency over allegations that its Riggs Bank laundered money for Saudi Arabian diplomats." CBS MarketWatch, August 21, 2004.

This development further calls into question the wisdom of considering allowing the sale of Riggs at this time, until the investigations, including into terrorism-related money laundering, are completed. A sale to a bank with a troubled compliance record like PNC's, which also funds high-cost payday lenders including in the target bank's market, would be particularly unwise and harmful.

Unless PNC's Riggs application is withdrawn or dismissed forthwith, ICP contends that chairman Greenspan should be recused from involvement in this proceeding. Those involved in decision-making on Bank Holding Company Act applications, particularly one of this import, need to be impartial, and to be seen to be impartial. In April 2004, PNC awarded chairman Greenspan's wife $50,000. At the time, industry publications questioned the propriety of the award, to the spouse of PNC's chief regulator. See, e.g., American Banker newspaper of March 24, 2004, Pg. 3, "Earth to PNC" -

"Corporate America's ethics have come under considerable scrutiny in recent years for obvious reasons, so it's no surprise PNC Financial Services Group Inc.'s decision to present a $50,000 prize to the spouse of its top regulator would raise eyebrows. PNC is promoting a black-tie awards ceremony, scheduled for April 24 in Wilmington, Del., at which it will present five high achievers with the 2004 Common Wealth Awards. The winners are the actor Christopher Reeve, the Chilean author Isabel Allende, actress Meryl Streep, scientist Stanley Prusiner and Andrea Mitchell -- the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News and the wife of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. The awards are given by the trust of Ralph Hayes, who sat on the board of PNC predecessors from 1943 until 1965. PNC is the administrator of the Hayes trust....


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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Andrea and the $50,000
that seems kinda cheap

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-24-04 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. kick
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