Peru’s justice minister, Juan Jimenez, vowed to increase the government’s efforts against money laundering after revealing that the country currently has no standing convictions for money laundering.
Jimenez stated that of the roughly 120 cases investigated by Peru’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) and the country’s Superintendent for Banking and Insurance (SBS), only four had resulted in judicial proceedings. “Currently there is no person convicted of an offense of money laundering in Peru,” Jimenez said, reports La Republica.
Jimenez declared that the government will strike “heavy blows” against money launderers this year and that a commission had been set up within the Justice Ministry to work on new laws to combat the crime, reported Peruvian news agency Andina.
InSight Crime Analysis
Estimates on the amount of money laundered in Peru vary widely. Officials estimated in November that $5.3 billion in illicit funds had passed through the country’s financial system so far that year, though some experts have put the figure at seven times higher, with drug trafficking funds making up 83 percent of this. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), meanwhile, estimated that $3.4 billion was laundered through the country between 2003 and 2009.
Peru has seen an influx of criminal activity on all fronts as it has risen to become the world’s leading cocaine producer. This has included the movement of Mexican and Colombian transnational criminal organizations to the country due to its comparatively weaker laws, both in terms of security and banking.
In June last year the US ambassador to Peru, Rose M. Likins, praised the efforts of Peru’s government to crack down on money laundering. In light of Jimenez’s assessment of the judicial process, however, this praise seems rather premature.
The European Union announced in December that it has made it a priority to aide Peru, amongst other countries, in the fight against money laundering, due to its links to international organized crime.