Trade-based money laundering (TBML) is one of four types of financial criminality examined in a comprehensive survey of 250 financial crime experts in Latin America and the Caribbean published by Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
The Washington-based non-profit focused on illicit financial flows says its survey shows that countries in the region need to address significant weaknesses in their efforts to combat money laundering if corruption is to be curtailed.
Most prevalent financial crimes
Corruption is the most prevalent financial crime affecting the region, followed by money laundering, TBML and terrorism financing according to Financial Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean: Understanding Country Challenges and Designing Effective Technical Responses.
It says corruption is also the largest source of illicit proceeds in the region, followed by drug trafficking, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and mineral trafficking.
The primary channels used to move illicit proceeds within Latin America and the Caribbean include financial institutions, real estate, bulk-cash smuggling and TBML.
Lack of TBML understanding
An understanding of TBML appeared to be lacking in countries across the region according to the survey which includes in its key recommendations the suggestion that countries should strengthen awareness and knowledge of TBML within governments and the private sector.
Other key recommendations included a call for the region as a whole to implement strong, up-to-date and transparent beneficial ownership registries that GFI sees as being key to combating a whole host of financial crimes, including money laundering and corruption.
The survey concludes that to address money laundering, national and international authorities should take steps to strengthen the mutual legal assistance treaty, an increasingly recognised vehicle for cooperation between states for obtaining assistance in the investigation or prosecution of criminal offences.
Moreover, GFI recommends the authorities should ensure that the current focus on narcotics proceeds does not overshadow efforts to address other kinds of money laundering.
Financial Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean: Understanding Country Challenges and Designing Effective Technical Responses can be found here.
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News