Wachovia, Justice Dept. discuss money-laundering investigation

Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo & Co., is in discussions with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve an investigation into the bank's ties to Mexican money exchange houses and its compliance with money-laundering laws.

San Francisco-based Wells, which bought Charlotte's Wachovia in 2008, disclosed the negotiations last month in its annual report.

Wells said it's cooperating with the probe led by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami and is discussing paying penalties and entering into agreements about its future conduct.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that a settlement could come within weeks.

The Journal said the probe involves the role that a Wachovia unit played in processing illegal money transfers for the exchange houses, which are known as "casas de cambio."

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