Washington -- The Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB) is providing a $350,000 grant for a new project
aimed at fighting money laundering in Latin America.
In a November 22 statement, the IDB said
it is joining with the Federation of Latin American Banks
on the project, which the IDB says will contribute to the
"stability, integrity and security of the region's
financial systems by fostering a close coordination between
government agencies and financial institutions."
The IDB says money laundering, defined as
the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal
origin, is having a corrosive effect on the economies of
Latin America and the Caribbean. Latin America, said the
IDB, is regarded as "perhaps the most active emerging
region with money laundering through both bank and non-bank
channels." Financial systems need to be strengthened
through multilateral cooperation to prevent money laundering,
the IDB said.
The Federation of Latin American Banks --
based in Bogota, Colombia -- is a trade association representing
Latin America's banking sector, and works with a number
of national and international bodies, including two offices
of the U.S. Department of Treasury: the Office of Foreign
Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network,
on fighting money laundering.
The new project to combat money laundering
was presented at the federation's November 20-22 annual
meeting in Miami.
The IDB said a steering committee of international
experts will provide strategic direction to the project.
The Association of Banking Regulators of the Americas, the
Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization
of American States, the Caribbean Financial Action Task
Force, and the South American Financial Action Task Force
have been invited to join the steering committee. The project
also will complement activities supported by the Andean
Development Corporation and the Central American Bank for
The Federation of Latin American Banks plans
to hold a series of workshops in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay,
bringing together officials from banking regulation agencies,
financial intelligence units and prosecutors' offices. The
IDB said the workshops will help pinpoint weaknesses and
problems in the region's anti-money-laundering systems.
The U.S. State Department's International
Narcotics Control Strategy Report for 2005 includes a section
on money laundering and financial crimes, available
on the State Department Web site.
Washington File Staff Writer