Mexico is the worst country in Latin America in the fight against money laundering

13/01/2021

Of all Latin American countries, Mexico has the lowest level of compliance with international anti-money laundering standards. This was made known by the Financial Action Task Force on Latin America (GAFILAT), warning that according to the last review of the fourth round of mutual evaluations, in a complete manner, Mexico only complies with five of the 40 recommendations that are established.

Then, with medium coverage, it attends to 19 of the points on that list. At the next level of the compliance scale, which is partial, there are another 15 of the points and one spanking. Then, this 2021, FATF will carry out a re-evaluation of the Mexican system to know the progress achieved with the current government.

Mexico's current position is at the bottom of the list of 11 Latin American countries that have the highest compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

Next is Nicaragua, with seven rules fully covered. Then there is Colombia with nine of the Financial Action Task Force's 40 guidelines. Then there is Honduras with 18 recommendations fully complied with, and Costa Rica along with Cuba, with 17 each. Guatemala, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay are also above Mexico, with 16 and 15 rules fully complied with. Not a single country among those evaluated so far complies with all the recommendations issued.

All these data were made known by GAFILAT when presenting its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, in which above all they emphasized a warning: in the coming years, new technologies and digital risk will represent the main challenges to be faced in money laundering issues. The main threats and typologies for the Latin region are actions related to virtual assets, illegal mining, human trafficking, public and private corruption, arms trafficking, and environmental crimes.

Consulted by the Mexican newspaper El Universal, specialist Jorge Lara, explained that although the group does not give a bad rating to Mexico, it will show the lack of results in terms of extinction of dominion as one of the lags, as shown by the Report of the Attorney General's Office (FGR), which indicates that out of 45 lawsuits filed in this area, 43 are in process. The estimated value of the assets subject to trial is 76.4 million pesos and 9.3 million dollars. Although the FGR has a Unit of Extinction of Dominion, only 19 states have it, two are in the process of doing so and 11 have not done anything.

It would be convenient for Mexico if the anti-money laundering group recognized the integration of virtual assets as a vulnerable activity. The Financial Intelligence Unit should be more sensitive and prudent in its relationship with the Legislative Branch, warning that they have only focused on freezing accounts, while the issue of domain extinction remains stuck.

There is an excess of faculties regarding the freezing of accounts, when the basic solution is to proceed with the assurances. Today's FIU is quite different compared to that of the last six years, seeing it as something healthy.