During the first six months of the year, companies dedicated to the transfer or custody of money or securities have delivered information for the purposes of prevention and investigation of money laundering as never before, in a context where the monetary base of banknotes and coins in circulation has grown in an important way.
According to the numbers reported by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), during the first half of the year, companies dedicated to the transfer or custody of money or securities submitted 2,879,217 reports for anti-money laundering purposes.
The number of reports delivered by companies dedicated to this activity in the first half of the year is 29.8% higher than that reported in all of 2021 and far exceeds what was reported in previous years. For example, in 2020 there were 339,735 reports, in 2019 just over 431,000 and in 2018 around 356,000.
“The issue of economic reactivation, a greater use of cash and the maturation of both the supervised and the supervisor, everything goes hand in hand so that the number of anti-money laundering reports of this activity is growing,” explained Nalleli Arias, general director of the office. Nara Assessments.
According to the law for the Prevention and Identification of Operations with Resources of Illicit Origin, known as the Anti-Money Laundering Law, companies dedicated to the transfer or custody of money or securities must submit notices to the FIU, through the Tax Administration Service (SAT) , when they carry out operations involving amounts from 3,210 units of measurement, that is, 308,866 pesos.
These companies, regulated within the Private Security Law, are intended to provide transfer services, custody of money or securities, which, according to specialists, allows banks, businesses and other companies to transfer cash and valuables, from one place to another.
The growth in the number of reports of this activity is in line with the increase in the use of cash in the country. According to data from the Bank of Mexico, the monetary base of banknotes and coins in circulation has grown 48.9% from March 11, 2020, the date on which the pandemic was declared, to last August 11, to stand at 2.4 trillion pesos. .
For Antonio Nava Guerrero, managing partner of the firm NM Consultores, this increase in the number of reports may be a sign that companies in the country have handled larger amounts in cash, which would increase the risk of laundering because the use of physical money it is the main global method for laundering the proceeds of criminals.
“The companies that hire the value transfer service, and that are not from the financial sector, are handling larger amounts in cash, which makes it difficult to trace the origin of these operations and verify if they are indeed commercial,” Nava Guerrero explained.
According to the latest National Risk Assessment, the activity of transfer or custody of money or securities represents a Medium-Low risk of money laundering or financing of terrorism.
For the Nara Assessments board, one of the short-term challenges is for the FIU to obtain better quality information from companies dedicated to the transfer or custody of money or securities, in order to be able to more effectively identify some signs of behaviors that give indications of money laundering.