Mexico City, Oct 17 (IANS/EFE) Mexican President Felipe Calderon signed into law Tuesday a new statute dealing with money laundering designed to halt the flow of $12 billion that, according to legislative estimates, are moved in the country illegally every year.
The new law “adopts the most advanced international criteria in the world of money laundering”, Calderon said, vowing that these efforts would be maintained.
In a ceremony at the presidential residence, Calderon, who leaves office in December, said it was “essential to fight organised crime, particularly crime that is organised multinationally, in the very heart of its activities – in the flow of money that gives it the power to corrupt authorities, to intimidate citizens and to expand its illicit activities”.
The federal law for the prevention and identification of operations with funds from illicit sources will enable this to be done through several new mechanisms, including a special unit to fight money laundering, he said.
The law also establishes a limit on cash transactions and those linked to gambling, contests and lotteries, as well as the issuing of, or trading in, non-bank credit cards and travellers checks.
The law also bans cash transactions in certain real estate operations with a value higher than 1 million Mexican pesos (about $77,519) or in the buying and selling of vehicles worth more than 200,000 pesos ($15,504).
In the case of jewellery, precious metals, watches, gemstones and works of art, cash payments are restricted to prices below 300,000 pesos (about $23,256).
Calderon said that during his term in office, Mexico “has waged an unprecedented war in favour of legality, justice and freedoms” of which these regulations are a part.
“The government has acted strongly because that is its duty. It has acted outside of all political considerations or any short-term interests,” he said.