Operation Greenback

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Operation Greenback was launched in 1979 and was the first multi-agency money laundering task force ever assembled. Launched as a response to officials in the United States Treasury Department noting a sharp increase in cash inflow to Florida (and later Los Angeles) banks, corresponding to a cocaine trade boom in the 1970s. The Department "connected [the capital influx] to the large-scale laundering of drug receipts"[1] The money trail led back to large banking institutions and as a result, George H. W. Bush "wasn't really too interested in financial prosecution,"[1] the chief prosecutor in Operation Greenback recalled.

Several federal authorities were involved including the Treasury Department, Customs, the IRS and the Department of Justice (Narcotics and Dangeous Drug Section)[1].

The investigation was prompted by Federal Reserve statistics showing that massive amounts of cash were coming out of other areas of the United States and being banked in south Florida.[2]

A small Panamanian bank pleaded guilty on money laundering charges after a sting operation. However criminal charges against its parent bank were dropped, one of Latin America's large financial players.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Chomsky, Noam citing a Department brief Noam Deterring Democracy, p116="http://www.zmag.org/Chomsky/dd/dd-c04-s03.html#FN20"/