Issue # 17 Sign Up for Free Mailing List

February 7, 2002

Narco News '02

Bankers Attack

Mexican Reporter

The "Hank Bank," Laredo National, Tries

to Force Estévez to Reveal Her Source

Banker Gary Jacobs:

Enemy of a Free Press

A Narco News Global Alert

Narco News Commentary: The desperation of the narco-banking industry to silence scrutiny upon its operations is coming to a head in yet another lawsuit in the United States; the effort by Gary Jacobs, the Mexican Hank family and the Laredo National Bank to abuse the court system to harass, now, at least four journalists and academics who have reported on their activities.

The bankers and their lawyers began with a vicious campaign against author and expert on Mexican finance Christopher Whalen, hauling him into court and then getting caught in an entrapment scheme that preceded the suspicious exit of the Washington law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from the case. Whalen has since counter-sued.

Then, the same bankers had their lawyers send a threatening letter to journalists at El Andar magazine in California, demanding $10 million dollars from the small magazine that covers Latino-American news and issues. El Andar and its reporter Julie Reynolds courageously pressed on with the story.

Then, the same bankers sued a mild-mannered professor, Donald Schulz, accusing him -- without solid evidence -- of leaking a joint report by five U.S. law enforcement agencies on connections between the Hank family (an infamous Mexican political empire), drug trafficking and drug money laundering. The bankers don't deny the existence of the report. They simply blame Schulz for its publication in El Financiero of Mexico City and the Washington Post.

Now, the Mexican news agency Notimex reports that the bankers are trying to subpoena Mexican journalist Dolia Estévez of the daily business newspaper El Financiero of Mexico City -- who first reported on the joint allegations by the FBI, Customs, the DEA, the CIA and Interpol linking the Hank family with narco-banking and trafficking -- to force her to reveal her source for the document.

Gary Jacobs and the Laredo National Bank of Texas are using their questionably-earned financial might to attempt to bully and silence the press by abusing the U.S. court system. They seem hell-bent on reversing more than two centuries of free speech law. Jacobs and Laredo wish to halt the right of the press to print government documents. They wish to erase established protections for reporters to protect their sources. They file expensive legal suits that have, in our opinion, zero chance of succeeding, with the sole goal of harassing and intimidating journalists from reporting on their activities.

In other words, Gary Jacobs and the Laredo National Bank are desperate to prevent you, the public, from knowing about their questionable behavior in the banking industry.

It is important to note that, like Banamex-Citigroup in its failed attack on Narco News, Jacobs and Laredo National Bank haven't sued the real source of their problems: the Federal Reserve Board; the agency that, after a long series of legal proceedings, forced Carlos Hank Rohn to resign as chairman of the Laredo National Bank after the Fed revealed that he had bought the bank by laundering massive amounts of mysterious money through Caribbean islands.

Instead of facing the music on the official enforcement actions against them, the bankers use their billions to go after journalists. And even there, they don't attack the large newspapers like the Washington Post or El Financiero who have published the stories and who have pockets deep enough to defend themselves. They instead target individual journalists and academics who, they know, don't have the financial resources to mount a full legal defense.

This is an abuse of the court system. It reveals the unwillingness of the bankers to live within an open society of press freedom and free speech. It attempts to purchase impunity and immunity from public scrutiny.

It also reveals how dirty the narco-banking industry is in our era: Only those with big secrets to hide fear public scrutiny. And these secrets, if disclosed, could stop the source of illicit billions: the insincere prohibition on drugs.

Gary Jacobs and the Laredo National Bank have thus revealed themselves as enemies of the United States Constitution and of every authentic journalist in our América.

The threats against Whalen, Reynolds, El Andar, Schulz and, now, Estévez are threats against all of us.

Narco News expresses its solidarity with each of these persecuted journalists and academics, and reiterates our continued commitment to cover this story about the systematic attacks on press freedom by Gary Jacobs and the Laredo National Bank.

We urge our colleagues throughout the news media to provide greater coverage of this story. If enemies of freedom like Gary Jacobs and Laredo National Bank are allowed to continue this campaign of high-powered abuse of the Courts, who will they target next? Silence, in this case, is complicity.

Today we provide a translation of the Notimex report on the persecution of Mexican journalist Dolia Estévez, and a series of background links for other journalists to use in covering this story.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano, Publisher

The Narco News Bulletin

Journalist Subpoenaed

in Hank Bank Case

She published U.S. intelligence report that

connected Hank's group with the narco

Lee Ud. el Articulo en Español

From the NOTIMEX news agency and La Jornada of Mexico City

February 7, 2001

The United States judicial story of the Hank family opened a new chapter with the subpoena of a Mexican journalist who published a report of intelligence agencies from that country that connects them with narco-trafficking.

Attorneys for Dolia Estévez, correspondent of the Mexican daily El Financiero, sought to have the subpoena quashed on First Amendment grounds according to the United States Constitution, that protects reporters against having to reveal their information sources.

The District Court judge of the State of Virginia must decide on February 22nd whether to grant or not the motion by Estévez's attorney to annul the citation.

"This is unquestionably a case of abuse... of violation of the First Amendment of the constitution," said Lucy Dalglish, president of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, an organization that backs and brings legal help to Estévez.

"It's about a fishing expedition," in which the accusors want to cause pain to whoever exposes their story in public, Dalglish emphasized.

Last January 9th, a District Court in the State of Virginia presented - on the petition of Laredo National Bank (LNB) - a subpoena to Estévez to testify in the case of Laredo National Bankshares, LNB and Gary Jacobs against Donald E. Schulz.

Jacobs is the president of Laredo National Bank - property of the Mexican businessman Carlos Hank Rhon - and Shulz is the academic that LNB accuses of having conspired to have a branch of the Justice Department of the United States emit a report about presumed connections of the Hank group with drug trafficking.

The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) elaborated the report, and the case is now known as Operation White Tiger.

Estévez was the first Mexican journalist to reveal the fact - in May 1999 - some months after a Washington Times reporter published aspects of the story and days before the Washington Post published its version.

The lawsuit against Schulz, filed in the state of Ohio - where he lives - also accuses him of having "disseminated" the report to the press, and among the journalists to whom he leaked the document was Estévez.

Background Links

The June 7, 1999 Washington Post Story:

Hank Owned Bank Violated Election Laws:

Hank Bank's Entrapment Scheme Foiled:

Mark Schapiro on Narco Bankers vs. the Press from The Nation:

History and Archives of the Drug War on Trial Case:

for more Narco News, click here

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