The Honduran government closed the Continental Bank, the country's eighth largest, which was allegedly used by the Mexican drug-lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman for money laundering, local press reported on Wednesday.
Authorities say for several years the financial institution had a close relationship with the Honduran “Los Chachiros” cartel, which, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is an important drug trafficking organization linked to El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel.
This information comes after the Honduran government decided to liquidate Banco Continental following revelations last week that several members of the Rosenthal family, that owns it, are under indictment in the United States on money laundering charges.
The Rosenthals are among the most powerful and well-connected business families in Honduras, U.S. prosecutors allege that they used their network of businesses to launder money for Central American drug traffickers, however, the family has denied the allegations.
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Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez told teleSUR that drug trafficking is integral to the globalized economy, as it suits many countries to have the money it generates circulating.
She also said that the Sinaloa cartel's revenues are so large they cannot be transported in a suitcase, so drug money may have been transferred through large international banks.
Meanwhile, the Continental Bank’s offices have remained closed, with clients and employees lining up for days over the weekend in hopes of making withdrawals. The country's president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has said the more than 220,000 clients of Banco Continental will soon be able to withdraw at least US$10,000 of their deposits, with the remainder returned gradually.