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UNODC Head Again Warns
About Drug Money

Jan. 31, 2009 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC).

UN Office of Drugs and Crime director Antonio Maria Costa has again warned that huge international drug money flows are bailing out the crisis-hit banking system. This is Costa's second warning this week.

On Jan. 30, Costa told the Associated Press in Vienna, that organized crime is using the financial crisis "as a golden opportunity" to launder funds through bank deposits and buying shares. He would not name any institutions, but said that money laundering is "certainly happening across the board.... The money is available and the need for that money is there. I think the whole system is infected."

On Jan. 27, the Vienna weekly Profil published an interview with Costa, in which he said that banks had been saved from collapse by injections of drug money, in the second half of 2008.

Costa said that the bank managers know what is going on. "I'm pretty sure that when someone knocks at the door of a banker with a few million, or tens of millions of dollars in a briefcase, the bank has plenty of reasons to doubt the origin," he told AP. He is using information from prosecutors in a number of countries, discussions with banking representatives, and years of experience tracking organized crime, as the basis for his warning. Not only the $320 billion world drug trade, but arms and human trafficking profits are involved, he said.