Bush's Uncle is Head of Bank Fined in Money Laundering Probe

This article appeared in Saturday's Washington Post:

President Bush's uncle, Jonathan J. Bush, is a top executive at Riggs Bank, which this week agreed to pay a record $25 million in civil fines for violations of law intended to thwart money laundering. Jonathan Bush, who is a major fundraiser for his nephew, was appointed in 2000 to run Riggs Investment Management Co. His association with Riggs began when he headed J. Bush & Co., a New Haven, Conn., company he created in 1970 and built to offer advice on money management.

David Sirota, who has his own blog and also writes for American Progress, reports that the Riggs Bank handles a lot of Saudi money:

According to the 5/14/04 New York Times, Federal regulators fined the Riggs National Corporation, the parent company of Riggs Bank, $25 million yesterday for "failing to report suspicious activity, the largest penalty ever assessed against a domestic bank in connection with money laundering. The fine stems from Riggs's failure over at least the last two years to actively monitor suspect financial transfers through Saudi Arabian accounts held by the bank." The 5/14/04 Wall Street Journal reported that of particular concern, Riggs failed to monitor "tens of millions of dollars in cash withdrawals from accounts related to the Saudi Arabian embassy," including "suspicious incidents involving dozens of sequentially numbered cashier's checks and international drafts written by Saudi officials, including Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan." According to the 4/18/04 Washington Post, Saudi Prince Bandar's wife, Princess Haifa al-Faisal, "may have used a Riggs account to donate money to a charity that then gave some of it to the Sept. 11 terrorists."

According to the nonprofit Texans for Public Justice, Jonathan Bush is the President and CEO of Riggs Investment Management - a major arm of Riggs Bank. He is also the uncle of President George W. Bush. The President "credits the investors sent his way by this banker uncle as a key to his 'success' in the Texas oil industry in the early '80s." According to Public Citizen, the uncle Jonathan was a Bush Pioneer, having raised more than $100,000 for his nephew in 2000.

David has sourced his articles, so you can link to them from his post.

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