Despite being removed from an international money laundering blacklist, more than $10 billion dollars was laundered in Colombia in 2012, or the equivalent of 3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the director of the Unit of Information and Financial Analysis (UIAF), there was over a $1 billion dollar increase in the amount laundered in 2012 compared to 2011. Despite stringent controls on entry and capital flight, money laundering associated with drug trafficking remains a serious problem in Colombia. Luis Edmundo Suarez, the director of UIAF, said that money laundering on such a grand scale can increase the cost of living for tax-paying citizens as well as further distort the peso against the United States dollar.
“It is clear that we have a problem of illegal dollar inflows affecting the foreign exchange market,” said Colombia’s finance minister Mauricio Cardenas.
The UIAF claimed to have successfully intercepted 30% of all laundering processes in 2011 and 2012 suggesting that the problem could have been that much worse.
The UIAF then referred to Colombia being wiped off the GAFISUD blacklist. GAFISUD is an international organization made up of members of 40 different countries that monitor and fight against money laundering. Colombia became a member in 2008.