Citibank: Would You Like A Tortilla With Your Money Sir?

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In 1995, Raul Salinas, brother of the former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari, was in a Mexican prison on a murder charge. There was a problem for Salinas. He had accumulated $100 million from the drug trade. Salinas needed to move the money out of Mexico




Editor’s Note: If you did not get enough of the grime on Wall Street in our last article, then please enjoy this next story on Citibank’s involvement with Mexican drug money.



I always carry a copy of the federal document which proves that I was wired by the FBI in 19931. The fact that the FBI wired me provides me with instant credibility, that is, with everyone except the mainstream press. 


The mainstream press cannot print my articles because to do so would be to anger Wall Street and, thereby, cost the newspapers advertising dollars and the publishers their membership in exclusive clubs and prep schools. 


What they don’t want you to know is that Citibank has been involved in illegal money laundering ever since, the late, Walter Wriston, former Chairman and CEO of Citibank, retired in 1984. 


A former career diplomat turned banker, Wriston is credited with expanding Citibank’s business model. He pioneered financial services for large multinational corporations and later introduced the ATM machine for the convenience of regular consumers.


Wriston was a champion of free banking and deregulation but never for the sleezy banking which has increasingly taken its place.


Due to the mortgage meltdown, Citibank recently received $25 billion from the federal government- your tax money- to shore up its balance sheet.  Before long they might even need more to cover up for other misdeeds.


In 1995, Raul Salinas, brother of the former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari, was in a Mexican prison on a murder charge.  There was a problem for Salinas.  Salinas had in his possession $100 million, which he had accumulated from the drug trade.  Salinas needed to move the money out of Mexico.


So Salinas gave his girlfriend a check to open a Citibank account.   Numerous checks were deposited in the account until the account reached approximately $100 million.  A personal investment company was then set up to hold the drug tainted money.


2Eventually everything unraveled and in 1999 Congressional hearings were held. Cuban born, Amy Elliot was the manager of the Citigroup Private Bank responsible for Mexican billionaires.   Elliott moved the money to offshore entities in countries, like Switzerland.


In Congressional testimony Elliott said that knowledge of the illegal money laundering went to the very top of Citibank.  She named William Rhodes, Vice Chairman as one of the men who knew about it.


What is even more disturbing is that bureau agents felt that  the arm of finance is stronger than the long arm of the law.


James Kallstrom was Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at this time.  Kallstrom was number three at the bureau and was in charge of the FBI office in New York City.  The New York office was charged with investigating the illegal money laundering by Citibank. 


But Kallstrom sought to be accepted by the money men of Wall Street.  So, according to FBI Special Agents, Kallstrom did the unthinkable.


While the FBI was investigating Citibank, Kallstrom was providing Citibank with results of the FBI investigation into Citibank’s money laundering.  Kallstrom provided Citibank with the names of confidential informants, cooperating witnesses, documents, etc. 


The FBI conducted an internal investigation and proved that Kallstrom had violated federal law by providing confidential FBI information.  Many FBI Special Agents were horrified. 


These agents, decent men, demanded that Kallstrom be prosecuted for leaking information.  But Mary Jo White, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, refused to prosecute Kallstrom. 


He was permitted to retire with his full pension.  Later James Kallstrom was appointed Director of the Office of Security for the State of New York.


But Citibank, the largest bank in America, knew that it was too big to be indicted.  Citibank continued to launder money.  And Citibank thanked America by continuing to launder money- this time on the soil of America’s most important ally.


3In 2004 the Japanese government revoked Citibank’s license because Citibank was laundering money for Japanese nationals.  It is not clear into which tax haven this money was sent.


But there is a strong probability that this laundered money went to the People's Democratic Republic of Korea to help finance its nuclear arsenal.

Editor's Note
: If you are enjoying this series and want more, please let us know by writing a comment or sending us a note at
We are particularly interested in people who may  be able to add to the plot.


Minority Staff Report for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Hearing on Private Banking and Money Laundering; A Case Study of Opportunities and Vulnerabilities.November 9th 1999



Amy Elliott Testimony



PBS Series on the Citibank Salinas Affair



New York Times: Japan Shuts Unit of Citibank



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