CIJ Investigates London as the Centre of the Global Drugs Trade

    The CIJ is launching a new project on London and its role as the major laundering location for money earned from the global drugs trade, particularly from Latin America.

    The Italian investigative journalist Roberto Saviano, who wrote the international bestseller Gomorrah, has said of the global drugs trade: “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. In 2012, HSBC was fined a record £1.2bn for money laundering for the Sinaloa drugs cartel. Saviano commented: “The biggest UK bank! Yet it has scarcely been written about. The British treat it as not their problem, because there aren’t corpses on the streets.” The CIJ wants to rectify that silence.

    Even institutions of the British state seem aware of what is happening. The National Crime Agency’s threat assessment found that: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

    Interns who are interested in the project can work closely with deputy director of the CIJ, Matt Kennard, who has reported on the drugs trade in Honduras, Mexico and Bolivia. The project is in its planning stages so ideas about avenues of inquiry and how a topic of this sensitive nature might be investigated are welcome.  

    If you are interested in helping devise the project and work on it, please email