EIR Interviews Former UNODC
Head Antonio Costa on Drugs
in the World Banking System
April 24, 2012 (EIRNS)—In a wide-ranging interview, to be published in the April 27 edition of EIR Online, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, former Director General of the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, 2002-10, provides an inside view of the way in which drug money has contaminated the world's banking system. During his long career, Dr. Costa has had occasion to devise rules to try to prevent such crime, but has seen the drug money laundering explode, as globalized banking has shattered the regulatory system run by national governments.
Dr. Costa became world-famous in January 2009—only months after the meltdown of the trans-Atlantic banking system—when he stated, in an interview with the Austrian weekly Profil, that massive cash flows from the global narcotics trade were brought into the banking system to rescue banks after the interbank money markets shut down.
In his interview with EIR, Dr. Costa answers questions about drug-money laundering and how to contain it. He stresses the importance of the nation-state in that effort, and strongly criticizes the drug-legalization movement. He compares the current push for drug-legalization to a new Opium War, and endorses the return to Glass-Steagall banking regulation, which he considers important, although not sufficient to deal with the problem.
Dr. Costa's insight is perhaps best reflected in his answer to EIR's question on whether the financial crisis offered an
"opportunity for the criminal associations to get their money in, or was the financial crisis an opportunity for the banks to bring more money in? Which side does it come from?"
"The penetration of the financial sector by criminal money has been so widespread that it would probably be more correct to say that it was not the mafia trying to penetrate the banking system, but it was the banking sector which was actively looking for capital — including criminal money — not only as deposits, but also as share acquisitions and in some cases, as a presence on Boards of Directors."
The full interview is available on EIR Online.