<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Under Scrutiny

Brazil’s Attorney General and Central Bank Launch Strategies to Combat Money Laundering

By Karine Muller
Reporting from Brasília

June 17, 2003

Brazil’s Attorney General and Central Bank Launch Strategies to Combat Money To the attentive eyes and ears of the national press, Attorney General Marcio Thomaz Bastos and the president of the Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles, announced joint measures last week against money laundering in the country.

According to the Attorney General, this problem tackles the true power behind organized crime. “We have to create a culture against money laundering in Brazil,” he said. “For this to happen, we have to make our efforts more productive and efficient. It’s a long job ahead.”

The plan is composed with twelve measures, of which the first four were announced at a press conference last Tuesday:

1) Banks must notify the Central Bank of all deposits or withdrawals over $100,000 Reals (slightly over $30,000 US dollars);

2) The creation of a general registry of bank accounts;

3) A new Department of Recuperation of Illicit Profits, and;

4) The restructuring of the Council of Control of Financial Activities (COAF, in its Portuguese initials).

Henrique Meirelles emphasized the ethical commitment of the Central Bank toward the legality of the origin of funds that circulate in the banks. “These measures will affect barely a thousand bank transactions a day from a universe of 120,000 bank accounts, and only on transactions of this species, so as not to harm the common citizen,” he added.

The measures have already been published in the Official Record of the government, and according to Justice Department official Cláudia Chagas they will take effect in 15 days (by June 25th). All cases of suspected money laundering that come under the Justice Minister’s scrutiny will be dealt with rapidly. And the focus will be on the largest transactions. The rest of the 12 new measures will be announced on a yet undetermined date.

Attorney General Márcio Thomaz Bastos said that laundering cases and drug war violence in Rio de Janeiro will not take priority over those cases in other parts of the country. He said he was surprised at the interest expressed by the press on that matter, that dominated the discussion with reporters during a one hour session for questions.

In spite of the announcement that the measures will be restricted to the kinds of cases detailed, it seems that, finally, in compliance with what President Lula da Silva had promised, the country is moving toward opening the “black box.”


“Lula: The Drug War is a Class War”

Brazil Justice Ministry’s Website

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America