$4.2 billion Laundered in Costa Rica Per Year

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.

Monday, March 14, 2016

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.

Now the figure provided by the Directorate of National Intelligence and Security (DIS) implies that this crime is increasing rapidly, favored, as indicated by the US government, by the country's geographical location, and "other factors, including the limitations of the government to combat it. "

From the report by the US State Department:

Transnational criminal organizations increasingly favor Costa Rica as a base to commit financial crimes, including money laundering, as a result of its geographic location and other factors, including limited enforcement capability. This trend raises serious concerns about the Costa Rican government’s ability to prevent these organizations from further infiltrating the economy. As Costa Rica has shifted from a transit point to an operations base for regional narcotics trafficking organizations, the laundering of proceeds from illicit activities has increased. Proceeds from international narcotics trafficking represent the largest source of assets laundered in Costa Rica, although human trafficking, financial fraud, corruption, and contraband smuggling also generate illicit revenue. In 2015, the head of Costa Rica’s intelligence agency, known as the DIS for its Spanish acronym, said that approximately $4.2 billion annually is laundered in Costa Rica.

Much of the money laundering in Costa Rica is channeled through the country’s nascent construction industry. Other sectors have been identified as vulnerable to exploitation by criminal organizations seeking to launder illicit proceeds, including both state and private financial institutions. Money/value transfer services, including money remitters, the casino industry, and the real estate sector, are also particularly susceptible. Various Costa Rica-based online gaming operations launder millions of dollars in illicit proceeds through the country and offshore centers annually. Authorities also have detected, however with less frequency, trade-based money laundering schemes. There have been no prosecutions related to terrorist financing, and measures to detect, investigate, and prosecute such financing are limited. Moreover, narcotics and arms trafficking linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and bulk cash smuggling by nationals from countries at higher risk for terrorist financing have been detected in recent years.

Read report by Gafilat.

More on this topic

Money Laundering in Central America

March 2017

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:

Panama, money laundering and USA

April 2016

Among the factors hindering the fight against money laundering, are the existence of bearer share corporations, a lack of collaboration among government agencies, and a weak judicial system susceptible to corruption and favoritism.

From the report by the US State Department:

Money Laundering and Financial Crimes in Central America

September 2015

Of the countries on the isthmus Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama stand out as countries that are causing "great concern" in this matter.

From the report by the US State Department: "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report Volume II - Money Laundering and Financial Crimes" March 2015:

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 ".

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