Wednesday, February 24, 2010

US: Western Union Settles in Border Wire-Transfers Case

UNITED STATES - Western Union will pay $94 million to settle a long-running legal battle with the state of Arizona over whether the company allowed its money transfers to be used to send proceeds from human trafficking and drug smuggling to Mexico, officials announced Thursday (Feb. 11, 2010).

The settlement includes $50 million that will help law enforcement operations in border states fight money laundering. Western Union has also agreed to beef up its internal procedures to stop its wire transfers from being exploited.

"Attacking the flow of illicit funds from the United States to smuggling cartels in Mexico is fundamental to our goal of crushing the cartels," Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard said.

David Schlapbach, executive vice president and general counsel of Western Union, said in a statement: "Assisting law enforcement in its efforts to combat illegal activity serves the public interest on both sides of the border and helps protect those who use our services."

The settlement resolves a legal battle that started in 2006. Goddard's office was in the midst of a years-long investigation of human traffickers when it filed papers to seize all transfers of more than $500 headed to the Mexican state of Sonora, Arizona's southern neighbor...


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