Riggs Bank N.A.
Riggs Bank N.A., founded in 1836, also called Riggs National Bank, "which provides banking services to most of Washington's foreign embassies and to American consulates worldwide," has been "swept up in controversy. Federal law enforcement officials, Congressional investigators and banking regulators are scouring Riggs accounts in a wide-ranging investigation revolving around the netherworlds of terrorist financing, money laundering and the seamier geopolitics of Big Oil," according to Timothy O'Brien's April 11, 2004, New York Times expose.
In July 2004 it was announced that Riggs was going to be bought out by PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. According to the Washington Post, "All Riggs branches will assume the PNC bank name... Meanwhile, PNC will dispense entirely with all of Riggs's international and embassy banking operations, which led to the problems Riggs faces today."  Wiki
- President, Timothy C. Coughlin
Former/Current Executives, Board Members or Directors
- Joe L. Allbritton
- Norm R. Augustine
- Jonathan J. Bush
- Colbert King
- Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.
- James Symington
- Jack Valenti (deceased 2007)
Bush family connections
As of May 2000, Jonathan J. Bush, brother of President George H.W. Bush, was "Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of J. Bush & Co., an investment management company he founded in 1970, which Riggs acquired in 1997", according to a Riggs Bank Press Release. At the same time, Mr. Jonathan J. Bush was also elected President & Chief Executive Officer and a Director of "RIMCO, a wholly owned investment management subsidiary".
- Timothy O'Brien, "Regulators Fine Riggs $25 Million," New York Times, May 14, 2004:
- "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 and Equatorial Guinean accounts held by the bank. The accounts are still being scrutinized as possible conduits for terrorist funds or for the proceeds of graft."
- "Bank fined $25 million in terrorism probe," CNN, May 13, 2004:
- "The civil fine against the midsize Washington bank with a near-exclusive franchise on business with the capital's diplomatic community is the largest ever imposed on a financial institution for such violations, experts said. It had been expected.
- "The action by the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency came in an order made public late Thursday. It followed weeks of negotiations between Riggs officials and the banking regulators.
- "The order said the bank's internal controls 'were, and continue to be, seriously deficient.'"
- "Riggs said last month it is pulling back from its foreign operations and that the head of the family that controls the bank was resigning from the board of its parent company. Investors viewed the moves as steps toward recovery or a possible sale. ... The bank also indicated that family patriarch Joe Allbritton, Riggs's former chief executive, is resigning as vice chairman of the parent company's board of directors. Timothy Coughlin, president of parent Riggs National Corp., also is resigning."
- Kathleen Day and Terence O'Hara, "U.S. Ready To Fine Riggs Bank. Saudi Embassy Money Reports Scrutinized," Washington Post, April 18, 2004:
- "Federal bank regulators are preparing to impose fines on Riggs Bank as soon as this week for not reporting millions of dollars in suspicious transactions at its embassy banking division, and have notified bank officers and directors that they may be sanctioned individually, according to people familiar with the investigation."
- Margie Burns, in the February 4, 2003, Prince George's Journal (Maryland), reported "Bush-Linked Company Handled Security for the WTC, Dulles and United."
- "Speaking of the Watergate," she wrote, "Riggs National Bank, where Saudi Princess Al-Faisal had her 'Saudi money trail' bank account, has as one of its executives Jonathan J. Bush," an uncle to President George W. Bush. "The public has not learned whether Riggs - which services 95 percent of Washington's foreign embassies - will be turning over records relating to Saudi finance."
- "Federal bank regulators are preparing to impose fines on Riggs Bank as soon as this week for not reporting millions of dollars in suspicious transactions at its embassy banking division and have notified bank officers and directors that they may be sanctioned individually, according to people familiar with the investigation. "
- "Investigators are looking at the Saudi accounts for evidence of money laundering, which is the use of complex transactions to hide the origin or destination of funds related to illegal activities such as drug smuggling or terrorist acts. The Saudis ended their ties to the bank last month."
- Source: Houston Chronicle link no longer active. No date.
Related SourceWatch Resources
Articles & Commentary
- Terence O'Hara, "At Riggs, Problems Passed on With Legacy," Washington Post, April 18, 2004.
- Terence O'Hara and Kathleen Day, "Riggs Directors Silent As Scandal Unfolded", Washington Post, January 17, 2005.
- "Saudi Arabia. Under the Influence," Center for American Progress, April 23, 2004.
- ^ Fred Barbash, "Riggs Bank Sold to PNC Financial Services Group", Washington Post, July 16, 2004.
- Jack Shafer, "The CIA and Riggs Bank - A Wall Street Journal story that the press gang should chase", Slate, January 7, 2005.