FEBRUARY 05, 2010
Nearly a decade after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, large amounts of dirty foreign cash—often used to support terrorism—keep flowing into the country thanks to major loopholes in a 2001 law passed to curtail money laundering.
Corrupt foreign officials and their relatives regularly exploit the gaps in the largely ineffective post-9/11 measure to funnel millions of dollars into the United States, according to a Senate Homeland Security panel investigation. The committee issued an alarming 330-page report this week detailing how illicit foreign money regularly enters the U.S.
The laundered funds are in turn used to train and provide support for terrorists and terrorism, according to the Michigan Democrat (Carl Levin) who heads the bipartisan panel called the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The tainted money has also been used in bribery schemes involving corrupt U.S. politicians.
Wealthy crooked foreigners and government officials use lawyers, real estate and escrow agents, lobbyists, bankers and even college administrators to skirt the money laundering law and bring tens of millions of dollars into the U.S. Examples include the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, who brought in $110 million in suspect money over a four-year span, according to the investigation.
An Angolan arms dealer, who is currently in a French prison, for years maintained dozens of U.S. bank accounts handling some $60 million in transactions. The notoriously corrupt president of a poverty-stricken west central African country (Gabon) used an American lobbyist to move nearly $20 million and to purchase U.S.-made armored vehicles and Saudi military cargo aircrafts.
At least one of the cases listed in the detailed senate report involves a criminally convicted U.S. congressman from Louisiana, William Jefferson, who is serving a 13-year sentence for operating a massive bribery scheme. Among the disgraced politician’s operatives was Nigeria’s vice president, who smuggled more than $40 million of “suspect funds” into the U.S.
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