A report from the Curaçao Chronicle.
The US has again named several Caribbean countries, including Curaçao, as ‘Major Money Laundering Jurisdictions’ in its new International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
The report provides a review of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legal and institutional infrastructure of each country or jurisdiction, describes key vulnerabilities, highlights the most significant steps each country or jurisdiction has taken to improve its AML regime, and describes each country or jurisdiction’s capacity to share information and cooperate in international investigations. The report focuses on countries and jurisdictions affected by money laundering related to narcotics trafficking. The report also highlights the United States government’s provision of AML-related technical assistance.
According to the report Curacao is a regional financial center and a transshipment point for drugs from South America. Money laundering is primarily related to proceeds from illegal narcotics, although recently unlicensed banking through Chinese mini-markets has also been identified as a source for laundered funds, resulting in investigations and arrests.
Curacao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Kingdom). The Kingdom retains responsibility for foreign policy and defense, including entering into international conventions, with the approval of the local Parliament.
In 2016, Aruba, Sint Maarten, the Netherlands, and Curacao signed an MOU with the United States for joint training activities and sharing of information in the area of criminal investigation and law enforcement. One priority area is interdicting money laundering operations. The MOU activities are ongoing.
As the vulnerabilities and expected typologies, the report states that money laundering organizations may take advantage of the availability of U.S. dollars, offshore banking and incorporation systems, two free trade zones, a shipping container terminal with the largest oil transshipment center in the Caribbean, and resort/casinos to place, layer, and integrate illegal proceeds.
Money laundering occurs through real estate purchases and international tax shelters, and through wire transfers and cash transport among Curacao, the Netherlands, and other Dutch Caribbean islands. Given its proximity and economic ties to Venezuela, the risk of Curacao being used to launder the proceeds of crimes emanating from Venezuela is substantial. Curacao has provided access to Venezuelans seeking U.S. dollars and euros.
Domestic public corruption poses a money laundering threat to Curacao.