Dutch lender Rabobank’s California unit agreed Wednesday to pay $369 million to settle allegations that it lied to regulators investigating allegations of laundering money from Mexican drug sales and organized crime through branches in small towns on the Mexico border.
The subsidiary, Rabobank National Association, said it doesn’t dispute that it accepted at least $369 million in illegal proceeds from drug trafficking and other activity from 2009 to 2012. It pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for participating in a cover-up when regulators began asking questions in 2013.
The penalty is one of the largest U.S. settlements involving the laundering of Mexican drug money, though it’s still only a fraction of the $1.9 billion that Britain’s HSBC agreed to pay in 2012. It surpasses the $160 million that Wachovia Bank agreed to pay in 2010.