Did drug money help save the world’s banks?

An article in Taki’s Magazine suggests it did – and may still be a factor.  Here’s an excerpt.

… illegal narco monies apparently rescued the banking industry from collapsing due to a calamitous lack of liquidity during the second half of 2008—the so-called “credit crisis.” Banks were so paralyzed they ceased lending to one another. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s executive director, Antonio Maria Costa, announced in 2009 that he had seen evidence to prove that profits from organized crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to certain banks on the verge of folding in 2008. Most of $352 billion in drug profits were consequently absorbed into the economic system. Interbank loans were financed by capital derived from the drug trade, and “there were signs that some banks were rescued that way,” said Costa. He declined to identify specific banks but said he received evidence that inspired his claim from prosecutors and intelligence agencies in Italy, Britain, Switzerland, and the U.S. Banking officials deny the claim, attributing the banking sector’s recovery to central bank intervention. However, the time frames don’t match: The first round of U.K. quantitative easing commenced in March 2009, while Costa viewed evidence from July 2008 onward, as The Guardian reported.

. . .

Drug money floats the global economy and, according to Ivanov, it represents “The Overlooked 6% of World Trade.” He argued in 2011 that the degree of impact of oil and gas on the world economy is common knowledge: They account for about 6% of total global trade. Yet “the impact of the narco market, which is estimated at approximately the same size, is not looked at by economists and politicians.” Why not? Ivanov argues that the current financial system can no longer exist without injections of dirty money. “Periods of crisis merely aggravate and expose the liquidity problem, making it more evident.”

Ivanov warns of “this possibility of permanently supplying much needed liquidity, that is in many ways the driver of the financial, economic, and social demand for continuing narcotics production.” Liquid narco money fertilizes the present economic system, he says. Estimates including those by U.N. experts indicate “the narco-money in the world is on the order of $800 billion per year…. And this allows us to confidently assert that narco-money is the foundation of the modern financial system.”

There’s more at the link.

It’s a fascinating article, revealing the size and scale of the world’s drug trade.  It makes a convincing case that the so-called ‘War on Terror’ has been the direct cause of the ‘transformation of Afghanistan into a planetary-scale zone of drug production’, where heroin production has increased forty-fold since the turn of the millennium.  It seems that the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences‘ is still alive and well . . .

I highly recommended reading the entire article.  It provides much food for thought.



  1. Probably not too far from the truth if not dead on. Our local banks hard up against the Mexican border are reputed to hold a lot of illegal Narco funds. If they were to be all removed, probably a local bank disaster.

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