The United States has named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major money laundering states whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking.
In its just released “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report,’ the US State Department listed Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize and Haiti as among major money laundering countries and jurisdictions around the world.
In addition to these CARICOM countries, the other Caribbean islands named are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
The report also notes that countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Russia, France, Canada as well as the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands had been designated major money laundering countries
The report which describes the steps taken during the previous year by the governments of nearly 90 countries, to reduce illicit narcotics production, trafficking, and use, as well as money laundering and financial crimes, said that the “complex nature of money laundering transactions today makes it difficult in many cases to distinguish the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from the proceeds of other serious crime. “Moreover, financial institutions engaging in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds of other serious crime are vulnerable to narcotics-related money laundering.”
Washington said that “this year’s list of major money laundering countries recognizes this relationship by including all countries and other jurisdictions, whose financial institutions engage in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from all serious crime”.
The report also notes that Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica had been classified as major drug-transit countries.
The State Department defines a major drug transit country as one “that is a significant direct source of illicit narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances significantly affecting the United States; or (B) through which are transported such drugs or substances”.
It said that apart from the Caribbean countries, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela were identified and notified to Congress by the President on September 13, last year.