March 18th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The proceeds of cocaine trafficking and Internet gambling represent the largest portion of funds that are laundered in Costa Rica, according to the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes report issued by the U.S. Department of State.
The report also identified other types of illicit funds that are laundered in Costa Rica, including the trafficking of other drugs, financial fraud, human trafficking and corruption.
Money remittance services were also identified as a risk, especially for the financing of terrorist organizations.
The U.S. State Department also said that a large number of dollars are smuggled across the borders with Panama and Nicaragua.
The State Department noted that some progress in money laundering had been made in the country, including Costa Rica’s latest law aimed at increasing international tax transparency, but not that were still several obstacles preventing the Costa Rican government from properly investigating and prosecuting money laundering offenses.
The report said that Costa Rica underutilizes tools such as cooperating witnesses, confidential informants, electronic surveillance and undercover operations.
The U.S. also criticized that in Costa Rica, money laundering cannot be charged as an additional offense to another crime. For instance, when a person is convicted for drug trafficking they cannot also be prosecuted for laundering the proceeds.
“[The law] greatly reduces the number of potential money laundering convictions,” the report says.
U.S. officials also said that unregulated industries such as online casinos and sportsbooks represent significant risks for money laundering.