My Day In Andorra
Last week, I drove from Paris to Andorra to meet with my bank there.
The bank came under investigation by the U.S. FINCen (financial crimes arm of the U.S. Department of the Treasury) because its Panama branch allegedly allowed or helped Venezuelan officials launder money out of Venezuela. As a result, the bank is to be closed.
I don’t know anything about the who, what, or why of the accusations… and don’t care except that they mean I had to make a trip to Andorra to meet with my banker in person to justify the small amount of money I have in his bank. As I said, the existing bank is being shut down… but a new bank is being formed. If my explanation for the source of my funds passes muster, my account will be moved from the “dirty” old bank to the “clean” new bank.
Andorra is a long way to come from most anywhere else on the planet. It’s a three-hour drive from any of the three nearest airport options in Spain and France. Fortunately, I was already scheduled to be in Europe for a couple of months this summer, so the side-trip to Andorra wasn’t too much of a hassle; for me, it was a four-hour TGV ride from Paris, where I happened to be. A friend also has an account at the bank in question. He had no plans to be in this part of the world before the July 31 deadline for claiming funds and was stressing over what to do.
Eventually my friend was able to speak with someone at the bank who advised him that he didn’t need to make the trip to Andorra. His account had already been cleared. I’m not sure why he’s off the hook and I’m not… but off I went to Andorra.
Five years ago, when the U.S. FATCA law had just been passed and the effects it would have on non-U.S. banks were a hot topic
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