US pinpoints Spain as money laundering hub

The US State Department has targeted Spain as a money-laundering haven for organized crime groups and corrupt politicians alike.

US pinpoints Spain as money laundering hub
High times: Spain is a centre for both drug trafficking and money laundering, says the US State Deparment. Photo:
Illegal business is booming in crisis-ridden Spain.
According to a study by the US State Department, Spain's informal money transfer services are giving criminal gangs plenty of leeway to launder their drug trafficking earnings.
The US report states gangs from Russia, Eurasia, China and Italy are still laundering the dirty money and investing it in Spain's once-booming coastal real estate, although the amount of cash involved is still unknown.
Other sectors like services, communications, automobiles, art work and finance are also serving criminals well in polishing their finances.
The study also highlighted how drug proceeds from other regions enter Spain, particularly earnings from sales of hashish in Morocco and cocaine in Latin America.

"Of the 175 police investigations against money laundering in 2010, 58 percent were linked to drug trafficking, particularly of cocaine, heroin, and hashish; 17 percent involved political corruption; while 12 percent were related to value added tax fraud, mainly involving vehicle trafficking," stated the US agency.
Despite the dire findings, the State Department acknowledged Spanish law enforcement efforts to tackle money laundering.

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