Dirty Money: Behind the Scenes of the Netflix Original 'Cartel Bank'

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 30, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Netflix is not just movies; it's about real-life drama.

Dirty Money: Cartel Bank is a documentary that speaks for itself. Watch it and you'll see the real story about Mexican drug cartels laundering money through a global bank.

The producers turned to Brett Wolf, a senior correspondent with Thomson Reuters, for deep background. Here's the inside scoop.

The Interview

Thomson Reuters is an international leader in information services, including FindLaw, known as "The Answer Company." After Netflix approached Wolf, the company asked him for some answers.

Q: How did you become involved in the project? Why were they interested in your work?

A: The reason the producers chose me was that I, a specialist reporter with the Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence editorial team who for more than a decade has focused on anti-money laundering compliance issues, in 2012 began working with various Reuters News reporters to reveal the scope of HSBC's compliance failures.

Q: How big a problem is money-laundering?

A: Many large U.S. banks, as well as foreign banks, have been fined to varying degrees over anti-money laundering failures. Billions of dollars in fines have been doled-out.

The Story

According to Wolf, money laundering is a lot worse than dirty money. He said it is official corruption, illegal arms sales, human trafficking, prostitution, embezzlement, insider trading and more.

The key for banks is "knowing your customers and understanding their banking activities," he said. That's where regulatory intelligence comes in.

"Our hope is that our Regulatory Intelligence product will help institutions direct their resources as effectively as possible and stay in the good graces of regulators and other authorities," he said.

It also makes for a good documentary.

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