Local February 22, 2012 | 9:02 am

US$1.06B dirty money laundered yearly is 2% of GDP, expert

Santo Domingo.- Around US$1.06 billion illegal money is laundered yearly in the Dominican Republic, or nearly 2% of the Gross Domestic Product and comes from corruption, tax evasion and the underworld.

The figures from the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption held in New York in 2010 were disclosed yesterday by expert anti-laundering Alejandro Rebolledo, who said the statistics increased from the estimated US$820.0 million in 2008.

He said the Dominican electoral authorities should identify the origin of the money used in the political campaigns, and warned that the elections period could be used by drug trafficking.

Rebolledo said the Latin American and Caribbean countries have identified drug trafficking’s ability to fund electoral campaigns, a resource he affirms facilitates “benefits” from the governments. “The international crime networks generally, including drug trafficking, try to invest in politicians and relations which later help them secure their objectives.”

Bureaucratic states

The former Adviser to Venezuela’s Congress criticized the “usually bureaucratic, slow and heavy” states in dealing with “technological, modern and innovative” drug trafficking and organized crime.

He said a sort of “voluntary blindness” keeps the economic authorities, industrialists, business leaders and other actors from exerting oversight over the origin of the funds they receive as income.

Rebolledo said legislation in the region should include a fixed investment quota to prevent money laundering, applied as percentage on the fixed income of banks, large companies and industries, a measure he affirms would contribute to curtail organized crime’s influence over productive sectors.

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