BUSINESS

Spain takes over unit of Andorra bank in laundering probe

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MADRID (AP) — Spain's central bank has taken over a bank that caters to the rich following accusations by the United States that its Andorran owner was involved in laundering money for criminal groups from China, Russia and Venezuela.

The Bank of Spain says it has put two employees in charge of Banco de Madrid SA, which has 23 branches around the country and is owned by Banca Privada d'Andorra.

The central bank said in a statement late Tuesday that it made the decision after the U.S. Treasury Department's financial crimes enforcement network named BPA as a foreign financial institution "of primary money-laundering concern."

Andorra's government has also intervened in BPA, putting two controllers in charge of the bank but insisting that the bank's deposits and solvency are not at risk.