Security & Fraud

Rabobank Former Execs Could Face Charges Over Alleged Drug Money Coverup

Rabobank's former Chief Executive Officer John Ryan could face criminal charges from the Justice Department. According to a report in the American Banker, the former general counsel and past compliance chief for Rabobank could be charged with obstructing the U.S. bank examiners' investigation into the bank's inability to stop money laundering.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is also looking to lodge sanctions against the executives. The report noted that the OCC has informed Laura Akahoshi, the ex-compliance chief at Rabobank, that it will ban her from the banking industry and slap a $50,000 fine against her.

Starting in 2009, Rabobank's California branches close to the Mexican border supported organized crime, with the U.S. unit admitting guilt in February to felony conspiracy charges and agreeing to pay $368 million. The report noted that $50 million of that amount was a fine from the OCC.

Citing court records, American Banker noted internal talks and emails within the bank that, regulators say, show the senior executives in California tried to prevent employees and regulators from exposing the misconduct. The legal filing doesn't say the name of the executive who was obstructing regulators, but one of the people familiar with the case told American Banker that those individuals include ex-CEO Ryan, as well as Akahoshi and ex-general counsel Dan Weiss.

Ryan retired at the end of 2015, noted the report, while Akahoshi and Weiss were both fired in September 2015. Greg Jones, a U.S. spokesman for Rabobank, told American Banker that the sanctions lodged in February "brought closure to the previously reported investigation and compliance-program matters." He declined to discuss the bank's former employees.

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