HomeNewsBriefUS Blacklists Colombia Money Launderers with Israel Connections
BRIEF

US Blacklists Colombia Money Launderers with Israel Connections

COLOMBIA / 10 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The United States Treasury Department has placed 31 individuals and entities on its "Kingpin List" for participation in a Colombia-based money laundering network with connections to Israel and bank accounts in China, illustrating the highly globalized nature of Latin American financial crime.

Colombian national Isaac Perez Guberek Ravinovicz and his son Henry Guberek Grimberg, a dual Israeli and Colombian national, were placed on the US Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) list -- or "Kingpin List" -- for allegedly leading a Bogota-based network responsible for laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for numerous drug trafficking organizations. Four of the men's family members -- one of whom lives in Israel -- and three Colombian business associates were also blacklisted for aiding the operation. [See Treasury's organizational chart below.]

colombia kingpin chart gubarnek

According to the US Treasury, the father and son used legitimate textile companies based out of Colombia, in addition to various shell companies in Panama and one in Israel, to engage in money laundering, with drug traffickers transferring funds from all over the world into the bank accounts of these front businesses. In addition to Colombia, the network held bank accounts in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela and the Cayman Islands.

The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida also announced the separate filing of charges against four Colombians in relation to the same case, including the two Gubereks, their secretary -- also on the Treasury list -- and a man who was linked in 2012 to an illegal money transport network operating in Panama.

InSight Crime Analysis

The sheer number of countries in which the network had bank accounts, in addition to the group's international business connections, highlights the extent to which financial crime has become a transnational business. Other recent Colombian cases have shown similar tendencies. A 2011 law enforcement operation uncovered a 22-person international network that laundered money for the Medellin-based Oficina de Envigado, and in 2013, US authorities dismantled a Colombian money laundering network with US and Dominican members.

The use of Panama also remains a mainstay in this side of the business. The country has previously hosted another operation to make it on the SDNT list, which had links to Colombia and Hong Kong.

The global nature of the money laundering problem was recently recognized by the G8 countries, which agreed to require greater financial transparency from companies, in particular the sort of shell companies allegedly used by the Gubereks.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 30 JAN 2014

Colombia and Venezuela are to launch a new anti-smuggling initiative in an attempt to crack down on the huge…

BRAZIL / 17 DEC 2020

On June 10, 2016, Jorge Rafaat was driving his armored Hummer when he pulled up to a stop light in…

COLOMBIA / 18 DEC 2014

An alleged high-ranking member of Colombia's most powerful criminal group, the Urabeños, was recently captured in Spain, which may be…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…