Well, let me read to you from an interview that we did with Jonathan
[Winer], who is the recently retired Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
Law Enforcement. He talks about interviewing a former senior member of the
PRI, who came to the State Department because he wanted to talk to U.S. State
Department officials. What Winer told me was, "In Mexico, going back to the de
la Madrid administration, there's been co-mingling of drug money and party
money and privatization money--the money used for privatization. It was all
mixed together and you couldn't possibly separate it and say, 'This was drug
money, this is party money, this is privatization getting payoffs.' [They are]
all mixed up." And that was the assessment, as he puts it, of "a senior
official from the Mexican government, who wanted U.S. foreign policy makers to
know that this was his assessment. He knew exactly who he was talking to and
he felt it was a tremendous national security problem for the United States and
I think Winer has an agenda. He's never met me, yet he says very bad things
about me. He's never met my principle shareholders. He and his former boss,
Gelbard, have said very uncomplimentary things about us. He has no credibility
with me whatsoever. I repeat--I think he's an idiot....I mean, where does
Winer come off, given the environment he grew up in, pointing fingers at Mexico
and saying somehow his version of what is corrupt in Mexico is harming our
bilateral interests? I think he has some other agenda.
Explain then, why is he saying negative things about you? To someone who
knows nothing about that, where is that all coming from? What happened and
... We have, as far as I know, the only perhaps--certainly the
largest--independent bank holding company in the United States controlled by
people who do not live in the United States. My other shareholders are all
And for some reason unknown to me, Winer and Gelbard targeted one of our
shareholders and have held--the State Department has been complicitous with
some other agencies in building a file of lies, documentable lies, about me and
these other shareholders and our institution... But I can tell you that this
campaign that Winer and others, some in the DEA and some in other agencies,
have been waging against us has been in conjunction with the Federal Reserve
Board staff. There are people on the Board staff who have worked with the
Winers of the government to try to build a false record that our financial
institutions--which are among the best capitalized in the country, among the
best managed, solid, law-abiding, compliant institutions--that there's somehow
something wrong with our shareholder base.
I think all of that is based on prejudice, just like I think Winer's focus on
the subject that you and I just touched on is based on prejudice. In other
words, I think there are--
But the focus is on Carlos Hank Rhon.
And Carlos became a victim. I became a victim. But yes, I think there are a
lot of people on the Federal Reserve Board staff, and perhaps higher than the
Board staff, that somehow became spooked that they had made a mistake and given
permission for Carlos and other Mexican national shareholders-but they focused
on Carlos, and me to a lesser extent--to control a U.S. bank holding company...
Let me quote to you from someone else we talked to, who is the former head
of the FBI office in Mexico City from '91-'96. He says to us, "I arrived in
Mexico in 1991 and I received information to the effect that if you wanted to
do business in Mexico--and that meant legitimate or illegitimate business--that
there are two people that you approach or had to approach in order to succeed
in business: Carlos Hank Gonzalez, the father of Carlos Hank Rhon, and the
other, the President's brother, Raul Salinas." And he goes on to say, "Raul
Salinas was known as Mr. 10% because in order to do business you had to have
his backing." So the question was what about Hank Gonzalez? And he says, "And
from what I understand, in the same way, although I don't know what his fee
...I don't really know him that well personally. But I do know his son, Carlos
Hank Rhon quite well. I respect him a lot. I think what our government, the
United States government, has done to him is criminal, criminal. [They]
violated lots of laws in the United States to try to get him, and me in the
I feel like I know Carlos Hank Rhon very well. I have enormous respect for
him. I mean, he's a great human being. He's a kind person. He's a very
shrewd, highly intelligent businessman, and a great financial mind. He's not
in politics. He's a great father, a great grandfather, a great husband. I
mean, anybody that meets Carlos, I think, likes him. And he's a man who has
tried to make friends, not enemies. So I think this whole attack by the Fed
has been really unfortunate. I mean, it's kind of showing the worst side of
the United States, not the best.
...And notwithstanding what you or someone may think about how much help his
father may or may not have given him at one point in his life, all the
businesses that I know of Carlos's--all of his joint ventures, everything--he
has done on his own. His businesses are not co-mingled with his brother or his
two sisters, or his father. His businesses are independent, and they have been
independent for many, many years. And he's done very well for himself and for
his partners: General Motors, [Assaya Brown Baveri], Combustion Engineering,
AES, the private power company--I mean, you can go on and on. And all of those
people did a good due diligence. Daimler Chrysler, which was Daimler Benz, he
founded the company in Mexico and chaired it for many years, and took basically
a turn-around truck and bus chassis manufacturing company and built it into
Mercedes and sold it to them.
His father wasn't involved in that, that I know of. And I think I would, I
would know. And, I have seen his financial filings that we did with the Board
of Governors. And I don't see any co-mingling. So I think this is all a
campaign again, I believe, generated by individuals in the Fed. Not by the
institution, but by rogue individuals.
And what are they trying to do to him and the bank?
Well, they're trying to harass him individually into selling his position. And
we've taken a position that that's not possible. He hasn't violated any
regulations or any laws in our opinion and in the opinions of our attorneys.
And they shouldn't be engaged in this campaign, and we hope to show them the
errors of their ways.
I'm sitting out there in the audience and I'm saying, "Now wait a second.
U.S. Customs, the FBI, DEA, the CIA"-- I'm trying to think of all the different
agencies that have had something negative to say in one form or another about
And my institution, and me individually.
They're all wrong?
They're all lies. And Janet Reno's letter, which you and others have seen, is
kind of the tip of the iceberg.
What does Janet Reno have to do with this?
Well, one of our attorneys, after this horrible NDIC National Drug Intelligence
Center report was leaked, among other documents that were leaked that were
false about Carlos and about us...And that story found its way to the
Washington Post. And as a friend of mine says, when you make page one
of the Washington Post and you're accused of being drug dealers, money
launderers and criminal threats to the United States, that's pretty serious
So as numb as I was to these press attacks, we finally decided--we'd done
nothing about any of the others--that we would go to the Justice Department.
...They may be able to indict people, but they can't--they shouldn't be able
to convict anybody if they're innocent. Carlos is innocent, I am innocent, of
having committed any crimes anywhere at any time.
...Months later another attorney that we had hired went to the Justice
That was who?
Senator Warren Rudman, retired, went to the Justice Department because he
believes that Carlos is innocent of everything that is alleged in these, what I
call false statements, that the Government is making. And he sat down with
Janet Reno and she said she would look into it. And about four months later
she wrote a letter saying that this NDIC report had not been authorized, and
that it had been illegally leaked, and that they were going to take appropriate
action against the leakers.
And, as you know, we have since learned on our own that one of the leakers was
People that I've talked with about this, let's say on the other side, say,
"Well, that's just a reflection of Jacobs's and Hank's influence with the White
House." That you've been a big contributor, that you've had coffee with Bill
Carlos has no influence with the White House at all and makes no political
contributions, has no political activities in the United States. From time to
time I'm active in both parties. I usually support individuals, and I usually
tend to support whomever is in power once they're in power. And I intended--I
was lucky. I was a good friend of George Bush when he was President. I worked
with him on NAFTA...The Carter Administration, all of them. So it's not
unusual for me to go to the White House. I've been to the White House--
In the Clinton government several times and in the Republican governments
probably more times.
I think you mentioned that George W. Bush knows Carlos.
Yes, George W. Bush knows Carlos. And I'm on the Governor's Business Council
in Texas, [I] have been for a long time. And George W., I think, is a really
good friend of Mexico. And he wanted to meet people in Mexico long before he
decided to be--publicly be President of the United States. And Carlos is one of
the individuals that he met. He knows a lot of people in Mexico.
What was the Drug Kingpin Law...?
The heart of the legislation was that Treasury would submit a list to the White
House every year or every two years--I forget what the cycle was. And this list
would be U.S. businesses that Treasury believed were tied in some way to drug
dealers on their target list. And if the White House certified the list, no due
process would be allowed. And Treasury could go in and seize those assets. In
other words, they could seize the corporation or they could seize the assets of
the corporation without due process...And then, of course, the rumor was that
we were going to be on the list and that some of our stock could get
You weren't worried that your assets were going to be seized, when your name
is in this report and this report is on the front page of the Washington
No, because I knew it would be lies, and I knew with lawsuits that I was
getting ready to file, these cockroaches in the government are going to run for
cover. And they are - because it's all lies. I'm--you know, I guess I'm an
incurable believer in the American system. I believe that if you tell the
truth and you pay your taxes, as Carlos does, as I do, and you don't violate
any laws that the system will redeem you. We really haven't started playing
all our cards yet...
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