Friday, August 27, 2010

Improving Anti-Money Laundering Efforts, Mexico Edition

Calderón presented a new law under which it will be illegal to buy cars, houses, and other goods with cash, presumably a common practice for members of organized crime. The same law also will increase regulation on frequent laundries, such as casas de cambio and gambling houses. The former will probably help some around the margins if it is enforced; it won't make gangster hide all their cash under their mattress, but will likely force them into using financial institutions, which should make the transactions and dirty money in general more traceable. Of course, whether that translates into significantly more effective controls depends a great deal on whether Mexico will go after banks holding drug money. And history isn't encouraging on this score.

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