The Danger of Drug Money Laundering

In the small Central American economies, the effects of the intrusion of drug money would be devastating.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Although there are increasing rumors of money laundering from the sale of drugs in the Central American financial system, the phenomenon is far from having the magnitude that it has in Mexico and Colombia. However, the pressure that is being exerted in these countries against drug trafficking activities is forcing criminals to look to other countries in the region, searching for lesser repression. Central American countries are, for various reasons, including the weakness of their police forces, the most likely for this undesirable migration.

The article in, reported statements from Ana María H. Alba, FIBA AML Institute instructor, who indicated that the effect of such penetration would be "devastating; they are much smaller economies and an infiltration of this kind could cause foreign banks to place more demands on their cooperation, which would weaken the financial system in the region."

More on this topic

Honduras: Drug Trafficking and the Economy

October 2015

Money laundering has positive economic effect on economies, but also impoverishes the quality of institutions leading to dramatic effects on quality of life in society.

The excellent analysis by Norma Lezcano in his article on, on the US Treasury Department´s inclusion of members of the powerful Rosenthal family in the list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) can be extrapolated to all Central American countries, and is a warning to the governments of the region, where drug trafficking has ingratiated itself and is creeping through state institutions, weakening them by making them serve criminal aims, and preventing them from carrying out their duties properly.

The Relevant Role of Money Laundering

May 2013

The movement of illicit capital in Costa Rica and Panama counts for more than 10% of their respective GDP, meaning that its removal would be a major blow to their economies.


The report entitled "Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010" by Global Financial Integrity, reveals that during the first 10 years of the new century, the flow of illicit money in Costa Rica amounted to $64 billion, while in Panama the total was $40 billion.

Money Laundering in Costa Rica

March 2013

Renting hotels and low interest loans to businessman with financial problems, have joined other traditional forms of money laundering.

The latest news from the U.S. State Department on the subject, shows that profits from trafficking in cocaine and other drugs, internet gambling, financial fraud, human trafficking, corruption and smuggling, are the sources of the assets that are "cleaned" in Costa Rica ".

Banks and Drug Trafficking

September 2010

The movement of illegal drugs is creating ever larger fortunes hand in hand with the financial system, which is used for laundering money.

Bayardo Ramírez Monagas, advisor to the Venezuelan financial system, made this comment in the thirteenth conference on Financial Supervision organized by Guatemala's Banking Regulator (SIB in Spanish) as part of his introduction to the issue of money laundering.

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