Mexico in need of autonomous Anti-money Laundering Unit

A PAN senator has proposed to incorporate Mexico's UIF to the LFPIORPI to make it autonomous

Mexico in need of autonomous Anti-money Laundering Unit
The UIF is currently linked to the Ministry of Finance in all aspects regarding budget and structure - Photo: America Rocío/AP
English 26/10/2018 16:14 Leonor Flores Mexico City Actualizada 16:16

After 14 years of rendering very poor results in the fight against money laundering, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) is in need of a reform for autonomous management, with branches in each state to gain effectiveness in the fight against money laundering, according to Minerva Hernández, a senator from the National Action Party (PAN).

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the senator pointed out that, although the country has established a new legal framework for the prevention and identification of financial operations with illegally-sourced funds, the system has not delivered the expected results.

She claimed that, as part of the new National Anti-Corruption System, the UIF, which was founded in 2004 and has not undergone any changes since, needed to be thoroughly reformed.

Hernández claimed that, although the Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Operations with Illegally-Sourced Funds (LFPIORPI), also known as the anti-laundering law, was a good start for the investigation and prosecution of this type of crime, in reality, the statutory provisions have rendered the law ineffective.

She pointed out that several sectors of Mexican society had expressed their disapproval regarding the rigidity of secondary normativity, which led to several controversies in the last few years.

Against this background, Minerva presented an initiative to reform the LFPIORPI, with aims of giving autonomy to the UIF, which is currently an administrative body of the SHCP.

“The UIF is currently linked to the Ministry of Finance in all aspects regarding budget and structure. It is not autonomous and each of its functions is regulated and supervised by the SHCP,” she stated.

The initiative was referred to both the Justice and the Legislative Studies commissions and will be subject to discussion in the following days.

The senator claimed that, although the model was in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Group for the fight and prevention of Money Laundering, it had become inoperative in Mexico. “We need to transform this institution and make it work as a real investigation agency to fight money laundering,” she warned.

This is why the senator from PAN has proposed that the UIF be incorporated to the LFPIORPI and not be limited to the regulations of the Ministry of Finance.