HomeNewsBriefMexico Passes Long-Awaited Money Laundering Law
BRIEF

Mexico Passes Long-Awaited Money Laundering Law

MEXICO / 12 OCT 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Mexico passed an anti-money laundering law that limits cash purchases of houses, cars, and other goods, in an effort to control the large cash transactions commonly used by criminal groups. 

Mexico’s Senate unanimously approved the bill, which is a less stringent version of the original law proposed by President Calderon two years ago. According to the Associated Press, the bill was delayed because lawmakers were concerned that the original proposal, which barred all cash purchases of real estate, would hurt Mexico’s economy, which relies heavily on cash transactions.

Under the new law, no more than half a million pesos in cash (about $39,000) can be used in real estate transactions, and no more than 200,000 pesos (about $15,500) in cash can be used to buy vehicles and other expensive goods. The law also requires commercial establishments and notaries to report large cash purchases or other suspicious financial activity to authorities, reports El Economista.

A senator from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Arturo Zamora, told Reuters that the amount of illicit funds laundered each year in Mexico is estimated to range anywhere from $10 to $45 billion.

InSight Crime Analysis

One of the most challengings aspects of tackling money laundering is figuring out the scale of the problem. Estimates of the amount of money laundered each year in Mexico vary wildly, as illustrated by the wide range given by Zamora. According to the Los Angeles Times, some Mexican officials estimate that $50 billion is laundered annually, which would make up three percent of the Mexican economy.

While stronger anti-money laundering laws are a good idea in theory, in order to work they have to be enforced. Mexico already has a number of laws to combat money-laundering on the books, the most recent of which was passed in April 2011 and requires banks, casinos, credit card companies, and other business to establish anti-money laundering procedures. However a report released in April of this year by Mexico’s Ministry of Finance stated that only two percent of money laundering investigations in 2010 ended with the accused being sentenced.

It is also worth remembering that no matter the laws, anti-money laundering efforts are inherently difficult. As InSight Crime has previously reported, the fact that the majority of criminal profits are reinvested in criminal activity rather than laundered into the legal economy makes it extremely challenging for authorities to make a significant dent in the flow of illict cash.

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

MEXICO / 5 APR 2011

Houston Chronicle: In a potentially sweeping and politically charged escalation of the U.S. offensive against…

MEXICO / 10 FEB 2012

Mexico’s defense secretary has acknowledged that some areas of the country are outside government control, fueling the debate over the…

METHAMPHETAMINE / 15 FEB 2012

Federal police arrested a major methamphetamine producer for the Sinaloa Cartel in northwest Mexico, in another blow…

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…