Monday, December 1, 2014
Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations
Mon., December 1, 2014
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, the Wall Street Journal reported today. 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.