A primary CIA money laundering operation in the Pacific area was Nugan Hand Bank, with headquarters in Sydney, Australia, and branch offices throughout the Far East and Europe. One branch office was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in the heart of the Golden Triangle drug producing area. Its primary function was CIA drug-money laundering. Nugan Hand was a covert CIA financial operation comprised primarily of those with ties to the U.S. intelligence community.

The money-handling activities consisted of laundering CIA funds, much of it obtained from drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle area. These funds were used to fund subversive activities in Southeast Asia after pulling out of Vietnam and other covert activities. Vast amounts of money were hidden in assets and financial holdings throughout the world. Disavowal is the standard CIA tactic to escape blame.

Nugan Hand engaged in all forms of financial fraud and deception, including drug-money laundering, looting assets, fraudulent records, and lies. When the CIA proprietary was exposed, the CIA denied any involvement. Simultaneously, its CIA assets were reassigned to other areas. The same happened in the Hawaiian operation that replaced Nugan Hand. In both cases the CIA immediately looted the assets and transferred them to other CIA proprietaries. Often, hundreds of people are left finally impoverished, some for the remainder of their lives.

Nugan Hand's cover was blown on April 11, 1980, by a reporter for Target, a Hong Kong financial newsletter, requiring the CIA to shut down the operation and destroy any evidence of its CIA links. Francis Nugan was one of the most visible players in the Nugan Hand operation. He was an alcoholic with a reputation for talking too much, a trait that threatened to expose the...

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