Mexico to pass new anti-money laundering legislation

President of Mexico Felipe Calderon proposed new legislation aimed at fighting money laundering and cash smuggling and at preventing Mexican cartels from using billions in U.S. drug profits to finance their criminal organizations. Legislation introduced by  the Mexican president administration and named “unprecedented” by Calderon includes the following measures:

– It would be illegal to purchase real estate in cash;
– The purchase of vehicles, boats, airplanes and luxury goods would be limited to 100,000 pesos (about US$7,700) in cash. Violation of this rule would lead to being sentenced in prison up to 15 years.

If passed, new anti-money laundering law by Calderon would counter the common practice in Mexico, when even in legitimate transactions people prefer cash to avoid being taxed.

Senior Mexican official who investigates financial crimes, states that criminals in this country are increasingly using cash transactions to launder their vast profits. This official, as well as his U.S.  counterparts say that the criminals use billions of dollars in cash to buy airplanes, ranches and businesses to circumvent new Mexican laws that require banks to report large cash movements.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, each year Mexican drug cartels and their suppliers from Colombia generate, launder and remove from the U.S. US$18 billion to US$39 billion, largest part of it is transported in cash. It is stated in the recent report by Douglas Farah, a consultant for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, that “very little is effectively being done to either impede the movement of drug money into the formal economy or significantly reduce the flow of bulk cash across the U.S.-Mexico border.” No more than 1 percent of this cash is seized by U.S. and Mexican agents.

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