The housing market, casinos, concert halls, and the livestock sector are all used to launder money in Central American countries.
Excerpted from the report "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes" by the US State Department:
Costa Rica Transnational criminal organizations continue to favor Costa Rica as a base to commit financial crimes due to its location and limited enforcement capability. Costa Rica’s government has attempted to strengthen the legal framework for supervision and enforcement; however, challenges remain in mitigating money laundering risks. Costa Rica is a transit point that is also increasingly used as an operations base for narcotics trafficking; and significant laundering of proceeds from illicit activities continues. Costa Rica should continue to close financial crimes legislative gaps and allocate resources for investigation and prosecution.
Gafilat has identified the outstanding tasks needed to bring up to date matters relating to financing terrorism, control of casinos and the inclusion of lawyers in the Mandated Persons category.
The ruling was made by the Financial Action Task Force for Latin America (Gafilat), who released the Mutual Evaluation Report, up to the date of the in situ visit made between November 23 and December 4, 2015.
Added to the factors already deteriorating competitiveness in the export sector are increased thefts of merchandise on the country's roads and infiltration of drug trafficking in exports.
The National Chamber of Cargo Carriers (Canatrac) reports that attacks on trucks on roads in the country have increased since 2012.They state "... on average 12 assaults used to be committed per year, however the figure has risen to 20 in recent years'."
In a Coca Cola factory in France 370 kilos of cocaine were discovered hidden in a shipment of orange juice from Costa Rica.
<span dir="ltr">The event has brought back to the table discussion in Costa Rica on the issue of implementation of controls to prevent export cargos from being used for drug smuggling to Europe and the United States, the main destinations of Costa Rica's foreign trade.
A bill against money laundering tightens control of activities such as leasing and factoring and imposes harsher penalties on those not reporting suspicious transactions.
The proposal was prepared by the Superintendency of Banks in Guatemala (SIB), and aims to establish tighter controls and more severe sanctions in order to improve mechanisms for preventing money laundering. Among the changes are a raise from $10 to $2 million in sanctions against those who fail to comply with the reporting of suspicious transactions.
In order to try to control the growing air traffic of drugs an initial purchase will be made of two radars while funds are sought for eight others.
An article in Nacion.com reports that "...The Ministry of Public Security is looking for resources to purchase 10 expensive mobile radars to detect planes engaged in transporting drugs in the country. "
The government has announced it will buy an aircraft and maritime interdiction boats, and will contract maintenance for aircraft in the National Air Service.
The Cabinet has endorsed the purchase of a DHC-6 Twin Otter 400 aircraft as well as maritime interdiction vessels DAMEN 1102 and three contracts for maintenance of aircraft order to strengthen the capacity of the National Air Service (Senan).
A list of people and companies involved in international money laundering includes brothers Abdul and Nidal Waked, another 6 individuals, and 68 companies, among which is Balboa Bank.
The businessmen Abdul and Nidal Waked and companies such as Grupo Wisa, Vida Panama and Balboa Bank, have been included in the "Clinton" list which indicates which people and related organizations are linked to money laundering and drug trafficking activities.
The figure is an estimate made by the Intelligence Directorate in Costa Rica released by the US State Department, along with information that indicates a rise in criminal organizations based in the country, and little capacity to combat them.
Money laundering is a criminal activity that handles amounts that are difficult to measure. For example, the report "Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013" by Global Financial Integrity says that during the aforementioned 10 year period, the flow of illicit money from Costa Rica exceeded $11 billion, that is about $1.1 billion a year.
The complexity of drug cartels' internal structures, their strategies of "marketing and customer service" and the way they operate increasingly resemble those of large global corporations.
How are the Coca-Cola and McDonald's corporations similar to drugs cartels? Of course the products they sell are completely different, but the way the three try to position their products and brands, increase their market share and increase profits to generate more dividends to their shareholders, is almost the same.
If emergency measures are not taken, Central America will soon collapse into failed states dominated by criminal organizations who are able to buy political power.
This is the dramatic but realistic conclusion reached by a study on the subject carried out by a coalition of Guatemalan institutions composed of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF), the National Economic Research Center (CIEN) the Foundation for the Development of Guatemala (FUNDESA) and Fundación G.
There were "few initiatives identified to combat the laundering of proceeds of crimes such as fraud, forgery, tax evasion and product piracy".
The real estate market, construction, legal services and casinos once again appear as the most susceptible to money laundering.
The ruling was made by the Financial Action Task Force for Latin America (Gafilat), which released a report on Anti-Money Laundering measures and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML / CFT) put in place in Costa Rica at the time of the site visit (19 the January 30, 2015).
The Global Financial Integrity report notes that between 2004 and 2013 the flows of money from Costa Rica from laundering and other illicit sources increased by 10% compared to the period 2003-2012.
The report entitled "Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013" by Global Financial Integrity, shows that during the 10 years in question, the flow of illicit money from Costa Rica exceeded $11 billion.
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ISOG, International Security Operations Group Inc., is an Investigations and Security Agency with its head office in Panama. In the 2004 ISOG decides to enter new countries opening secondary and representative offices where experts of different nationality and culture operate. Through the head office that coordinates all the activities, ISOG is able to assist its clients all over the world.
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