Monday, February 28, 2011

Shortcomings in the Efforts to Stem the Flow of Dirty Money

A study from the Mexican Congress released last week estimated that between $25 and $40 billion is laundered each year in Mexico. That's at the high end of estimates I've seen, but it doesn't seem impossible, especially when you add non-drug profits to organized crime's revenue stream. In response to that, the leader of the Finance Department's anti-laundering unit compared his group favorably to counterparts in the US, the UK, Spain, and other nations. Whether or not that is true is beyond me, but the most recent report I remember reading on the topic said that in 2009 and 2010, the US and Mexico together brought 65 money-laundering cases affecting the latter nation, resulting in the seizure of some $60 million. During that time, if we are to believe the Congressional data, between $50 and $80 billion in illicit money entered Mexico, yet only 65 cases were brought, or one case per billion dollars laundered.

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