Money launderers charged with repatriating narcotics profits earned in North America are always looking for targets of opportunity, especially events where they can hide their wire transfers within the huge flow of relief funds that follow natural disasters, and the recent earthquake experienced in Equador has most certainly got their attention.
The facts are all favorable:
(1) Equador has had a Dollarized economy since 2000.
(2) It is adjacent to Colombia.
(3) It already serves as destination for southbound narco-profits en route to Colombia.
(4) the country is in dire need of financial aid to assist in earthquake recovery.
Money launderers have a history of using natural disasters, where all efforts are focused on getting aid to the affected area, and the willingness of bankers to facilitate rapid movement of what appear to be aid funds, to transfer drug profits, free of the usual scrutiny. Look for the names of charitable organizations that are deceptively similar to those that are well known, or those that are no longer active. It is also possible that small or obscure legitimate charities may be co-opted to move dirty money, though bogus entities are more likely.
Bankers who are urgently requested to help with disaster relief may not take the time to vet NGOs, or entities who claim to be charities, in light of the emergency. Therefore, if you do not know the charity, including the individuals who are seeking your assistance, Mr. Banker, please ensure that a thorough due diligence investigation is conducted by Compliance, even if the charity is referred to you by a longtime client, for legitimate individuals, who believe they are doing good works, may unwittingly be facilitating the movement of drug profits.
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