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Mexico; United States: Agreement to Establish Joint Anti-Money Laundering Body

(Apr. 4, 2014) In March 2014, attorney generals from California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico signed a letter of intent aimed at establishing a binational anti-money laundering working group with Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission. (Press Release, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, U.S. State Attorneys General Sign Anti-Money Laundering Cooperation Agreement with Mexico (Mar. 25, 2014), State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General [hereinafter CA OAG] website.)

One motivation for the establishment of the group may be the identification of California “as a key portal for the transfer of illicit money,” with “as much as $40 billion in illicit funds” having been laundered there in 2012. (Id.) California’s Attorney General recently issued a report on the subject entitled Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime. (Id.; KAMALA D. HARRIS, GANGS BEYOND BORDERS: CALIFORNIA AND THE FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME (Mar. 2014), CA OAG website.)

A press release issued on the occasion of the agreement indicates that the working group will be developed with the objectives of:

  • establishing the scope of coordination between U.S. state attorneys general and Mexico on money laundering enforcement issues;
  • creating a plan for reciprocal technical assistance on countering money laundering; and
  • exchanging best practices on money laundering enforcement methods and other related issues of common interest, such as the effect of money laundering on the border region of Mexico and the U.S. (Id.)

In October 2013, the National Banking and Securities Commission and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury) signed a memorandum of understanding on exchanging information on terrorism financing and money laundering. (Norma Gutierrez, Mexico; United States: Agreement on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Nov. 8, 2013); Press Release, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. and Mexican AML/CFT Supervisors Sign First-Ever MOU to Exchange Financial Information to Thwart Drug Crime (Oct. 24, 2013), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network website.)