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Banking Across the Border – South: Dollars can be a dirty word at banks on US-Mexico border

Roberto Castro, chief executive officer of Farmacias Roma, gestures inside one of his locations in Tijuana, Mexico on Jan. 27. Castro, whose customers often pay in dollars, faces tough challenges amid a clamor to crack down on money laundering. Many American banks, wary of the potential for massive penalties, have closed Mexican accounts or saddled customers with new restrictions rather than risk the chance. (AP Photo/ Elliot Spagat)

The clamor to crack down on laundering drug money was loud in 2010 when Wachovia National Bank was found to have let $110 million from Mexico be sent through its accounts. It grew two years later when HSBC Holdings PLC agreed to pay $1.9 billion to settle violations that included letting hundreds of millions of dollars from drug cartels flow through one of the world’s largest banks.

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