VIENNA Jan 25 The United Nations' crime and
drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug
trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial
crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa
said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that
drug money often became the only available capital when the
crisis spiralled out of control last year.
"In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid
investment capital," Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. "In
the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main
problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor."
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had found
evidence that "interbank loans were funded by money that
originated from drug trade and other illegal activities," Costa
was quoted as saying. There were "signs that some banks were
rescued in that way."
Profil said Costa declined to identify countries or banks
which may have received drug money and gave no indication how
much cash might be involved. He only said Austria was not on top
of his list, Profil said.
(Reporting by Boris Groendahl; Editing by Charles Dick)