HomeNewsBriefReport: Argentina Anti-Money Laundering Unit Fails to Investigate Overseas
BRIEF

Report: Argentina Anti-Money Laundering Unit Fails to Investigate Overseas

ARGENTINA / 21 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

An investigative report says Argentina’s national anti-money laundering body neglects to fully investigate reports of suspicious activities by Argentine citizens and companies, opening a giant escape hatch for nearly $100 billion in illegal proceeds.

According to La Nacion, the main government body charged with analyzing intelligence on money laundering in Argentina, the Financial Information Unit (UIF), has to have the person or business registered as a possible suspect in Argentina before it follows up on reports of suspected money laundering outside the country. Thus, the unit has ignored alerts coming from world tax havens including Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the Isle of Man, and Nauru.

According to La Nacion, this means that domestic money launderers who leave the country with a clean record are unlikely to face sanctions later, and has led to $95.8 billion dollars in illegal funds leaving the country between 2000 and 2009.

UIF Head Jose Sabbatella denied La Nacion’s charges and accused the paper of producing “false information.”

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time that Argentina has been criticized for failing to regulate money laundering. In February 2011, the country was nearly sanctioned after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization that investigates money laundering, found legal loopholes and irregularities in Argentina’s financial system. In March 2012, the country was downgraded on the US list of countries of concern for non-compliance with many FATF recommendations.

La Nacion’s report comes during the same week that the UIF produced two resolutions aiming to increase its oversight regarding illegal financial activities, reported the newspaper Cronista. The resolutions expand the circumstances in which it is obligatory to report suspicious information.

The recent regulations passed by the UIF could arguably be interpreted as the agency intensifying its efforts against money laundering. But if La Nacion’s reports are correct and the government body is not doing enough to monitor suspicious activity by Argentines overseas, this is only looking at a small part in the money laundering chain.

Argentina’s struggles to properly monitor transnational businesses for suspicious activity is a regional problem. British bank HSBC was recently forced to pay nearly $2 billion in fines after a US court found that it had failed to regulate irregular activities conducted by its Mexico branch. However, the bank was not indicted, leading some critics to wonder whether HSBC was “too big to prosecute.”

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

MONEY LAUNDERING / 29 OCT 2013

A prominent Texan lawyer and philanthropist has been convicted of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars of…

ARGENTINA / 3 DEC 2015

Argentina's incoming security secretary has called for the creation of an "elite force" targeting hardcore soccer fans known as "barras…

HONDURAS / 19 APR 2013

The chief prosecutor of Honduras' Anti-Money Laundering Unit has been assassinated, adding yet another case to the country's long list…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…