TD Bank probe tied to laundering of illicit fentanyl profits, WSJ reports

FILE PHOTO: The Toronto Dominion (TD) bank logo is seen on a building in Toronto

(Reuters) -A U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into TD Bank is focused on how Chinese drug traffickers and crime groups used the Canada's second-largest lender to launder their money from fentanyl sales, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The bank disclosed last year that it was cooperating with authorities in an investigation into its anti-money laundering compliance program by the DoJ.

The investigation was initiated after agents uncovered an operation in New York and New Jersey that laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds from illicit narcotics through TD and other banks, the WSJ reported, citing court documents and people familiar with the matter.

"Criminals constantly seek to use banks to launder money. Regrettably, our U.S. AML program did not effectively thwart these activities," a TD Bank spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"As previously disclosed, we have been and continue to cooperate with law enforcement and our regulators. A comprehensive effort is underway to strengthen our AML program, including investments in talent, tools and technology," the spokesperson added.

The DoJ did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Earlier on Thursday, Canada's anti-money laundering agency imposed its biggest-ever penalty of nearly C$9.2 million ($6.71 million) on TD Bank over non-compliance of anti-money laundering regulations.

(Reporting by Arasu Kannagi Basil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)