The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Banking

Citibank: A bank that ruled the world, almost

What do the the CEO of Standard Chartered, the finance minister of Pakistan, the central bank governor of the Philippines and the opposition leader in Liberia have in common? They all used to work at Citibank.

Bill Rhodes 160x186
Bill Rhodes

Citibankers were once regarded as banking's Foreign Legion, dedicating their careers to the conquest of new countries and markets for the greater good of their bank, raising the Citibank flag in some pretty inhospitable places. The bank recruited and promoted locals, taking the brightest and the best connected in 100 countries

It came to exercise a worldwide influence unmatched by any rival. When the US government wanted assistance in resolving the debt crises of emerging countries, it turned to Citibank to intermediate with its local knowledge and banking experience. Its alumni association must be one of the most high-powered informal groupings of people in the world.

In the same way that Barclays was the bank that followed and served the British empire, Citibank carried and represented American influence around the globe. The close relationships that Citibank cultivated with heads of government put it in positions of great power, though these were not always used to good effect.

In 1999, a US Senate subcommittee on money laundering investigated Citibank and found that the bank's global private-banking operation had helped such politicians as Nigerian head of state Sani Abacha and Raoul Salinas, the brother of the former president of Mexico, to launder their huge, illegally acquired assets.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree