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Big U.S. Fine for Mexican in Bank Case

by Tim Weiner Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2001 at 9:46 AM

One of the richest and most politically connected buinessmen in Mexico, will pay a million fine to settle charges he violated banking laws when he bought Laredo National Bancshares in Texas, the Federal Reserve Board said today. The fine, one of the largest by the Fed, will be paid to the United States Treasury in installments: .75 million immediately and .25 million ......

One can safely assume the link after this story is just a continuation of what, if the white-collars who are involved actually get charged, would mean a lot of people would need to be let out of prison to make accomodations for these folks.


June 1, 2001

Big U.S. Fine for Mexican in Bank Case


MEXICO CITY, May 31 — Carlos Hank Rhon, one of the richest and most

politically connected businessmen in Mexico, will pay a million fine to

settle charges that he violated banking laws when he bought Laredo National

Bancshares in Texas, the Federal Reserve Board said today.

The fine, one of the largest ever imposed by the Fed, will be paid to the

United States Treasury in installments: .75 million immediately and .25

million over the next seven years, the Fed announced.

Mr. Hank will also resign as chairman and as a director of Laredo National

Bancshares, which has about .5 billion in assets, .2 billion in deposits

and two subsidiaries, Laredo National Bank and South Texas National Bank, all

based in Laredo.

The Fed contended that Mr. Hank filed false or misleading reports regarding

his acquisition of a controlling stake in Laredo National through an offshore

holding company that he controls, the Incus Company, which is based in the

British Virgin Islands.

It said he failed to disclose the sale of a million share in Laredo

National to his father, Carlos Hank Gonzáles.

The elder Mr. Hank, a former mayor of Mexico City and a past president of the

Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years until it

lost the presidency last July, amassed one of Mexico's biggest family

fortunes during his years as a politician and a federal minister of tourism.

That fortune was built on banking, finance, real estate, construction and

transportation enterprises.

The younger Mr. Hank also failed to disclose his connections to at least five

offshore investments, the Fed said. It also contended that Mr. Hank took part

in improper lending when one of his companies in Mexico received a .4

million loan from Laredo National.

The Fed had charged Mr. Hank, in an administrative proceeding filed in

December 1998, with violating the Bank Holding Company Act and other United

States laws. Mr. Hank denied the violations and did not acknowledge

wrongdoing in the settlement, which he called "an important business

initiative I have taken to enable Laredo to move forward."

He is now banned from controlling or directing banking organizations in the

United States without Fed approval.

The million fine appears to be exceeded only by the 0 million penalty

the Fed levied against the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in 1992.

That bank collapsed in 1991 with debts of more than billion, a result of

what is generally considered to be the biggest fraud in banking history.

Mr. Hank will become chairman emeritus of Laredo National and will retain his

controlling interest in it, the bank said. He "will not be otherwise involved

in its management or operation," the Fed said. His 71 percent stake will be

placed in a voting trust, whose trustees are to include Eugene Ludwig, a

former comptroller of the currency, bank officials said.

Last year, lawyers representing the bank sued the chairman of the political

science department at Cleveland State University, saying that he had given

reporters in the United States copies of a draft Justice Department report

that suggested the Hank family engaged in drug- related money laundering

through the bank.

Janet Reno, then the United States attorney general, disavowed the report as

the work of unsophisticated authors at the National Drug Intelligence Center,

an arm of the Justice Department. She did so in part at the urging of former

United States Senator Warren B. Rudman, who had been retained by the Hank

family in the matter.

Gary G. Jacobs, the president and chief executive of Laredo National Bank,

has also sued officials of the drug intelligence center.


Forwarded as information only; no endorsement to be presumed.

*** COPYRIGHT NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107

doctrine of international copyright law, any copyrighted work in this message

is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have

expressed prior interest in receiving this info for nonprofit research and

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