From Barron’s article of March, 2009:
Woods started seeing traveler’s checks arrive at his London branch from Mexican currency exchanges in 2006 — sequentially numbered, improperly endorsed, large denomination — he became suspicious.
Under laws aimed at fighting flows of dirty money, his job was to report such activity to Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency. Within a year of his report, Woods’ suspicions proved warranted. Mexican prosecutors raided one of the exchange companies and alleged that the cutthroat Sinaloa Cartel had used it to buy jet planes for drug-smuggling. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency had Wachovia freeze the exchange’s accounts in Miami and London as part of a still-ongoing investigation.
But in a whistle-blower suit filed with an employment tribunal in London, Woods says Wachovia executives resisted his scrutiny of the bank’s dealings with the Mexican exchanges. He alleges that his bosses bullied and demoted him, then withdrew his reports of other suspicious activities in Eastern Europe. His complaint alleges that Wachovia staff may have even tipped off Mexican-exchange clients about his laundering suspicions. Last June, Woods told the bank that he feared for his safety.
Woods joined Wachovia in 2005 as its U.K. anti-money-laundering officer, after a career fighting financial crime for the British government. As a cop, he helped secure the year 2000 convictions of executives at the Bank of New York who laundered billions of dollars for the Russian mob.
But, according to Woods’ employment-court claim, his Wachovia bosses fought him when he filed reports in October 2006 about suspicious traveler’s checks originating from Mexican exchanges like the Casa de Cambio Puebla, which delivered business valued at hundreds of millions of dollars to Wachovia’s Miami office. Wachovia compliance executives scolded him, Woods alleges, for nosing into the activities of the bank’s American operations. A few months later, Woods noticed that the Mexican casas de cambio simultaneously stopped routing traveler’s checks through London. He asked his American counterparts if they had seen a similar routing change. Instead of obtaining assistance, says Woods’ court filing, he was confronted by Wachovia’s Miami manager of Latin American banking, Carlos A. Perez, who asked why Woods had problems when traveler’s checks were sent to London and problems when they weren’t. Perez didn’t respond to Barron’s inquiries.
Ah, a name is named. Carlos A. Perez. I know nothing about this man except what is conveyed here about his attitude in the matter. Both condescending and dismissive. Maybe he is incidental to the matter. Who knows. We don’t. This case is investigated and settled behind closed doors.
How does Wachovia keep it behind closed doors? Non disclosure agreements.
Although a Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents him from speaking publicly about his experiences at Wachovia, Woods will offer advice to bank compliance officers about what to do when confronted with evidence of illegal activity when he speaks at the 8th Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference, in association with Grant Thornton, which will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Florida on May 2-4, 2010. He will also talk about the emotional turmoil that he has gone through as a result of his whistleblowing.
I wonder if this matter can be investigated more fully under Freedom of Information Act requests. Anyone know?