Investigators in the US state of Florida have said that 22 people have been or will be arrested after they unearthed a sophisticated trade-based money laundering scheme.
But none of the owners of the businesses involved in the US$1 million a month scheme have been arrested yet, because they may not have realised they were participating in illegal acts.
Money laundering specialists
The alleged scheme began with Mexican drug cartels purchasing cocaine from Colombian producers on credit.
Cash from drugs sales was then transferred to money laundering specialists who tendered the US dollars to buyers on the black market in Colombia.
Colombian businesses that wanted US products purchased the dollars because they were offered at more favourable exchange rates on the black market.
The products, typically mobile phones or computers, were then exported to Colombia, where they were sold, effectively laundering the drug money.
Proceeds from the product sales were then converted to pesos for drug cartels, according to the allegations.
Investigators said that 11 Miami businesses may have been used as part of the scheme.
But the business owners have not been charged yet until investigators ascertain whether or not they knew about the part they played in the alleged money laundering scheme.
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News