Santiago Castro, the president of the Colombian bankers’ association Asobancaria, said that mechanisms are in place to prevent illegal funds from the FARC guerrilla group from being deposited in the financial system.
According to the association of the Colombian financial sector, money coming from illegal activities by the guerrilla group must be investigated and prosecuted by the authorities.
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The Office of the Attorney General and other bodies responsible for financial and regulatory controls are currently investigating the illicit assets and funds handled by the armed group, which they are required to hand over as part of the peace process with the Colombian government.
“We will not allow money laundering on the part of the FARC. Surely the guerrillas have funds stashed away abroad, in tax havens,” said Castro.
Colombian banks “do not open bank accounts to subversive groups, nor will we launder money,” he insisted.
He emphasizes that the banking sector is committed to providing banking services for people who have demobilized, and are currently in the process of reintegration into civilian life, but once they have fulfilled that process in conjunction with the rule of law.
Castro noted his dissatisfaction with comments from some small businessmen in the country who would rather pay a peace tax than hire demobilized individuals.
“It is clear that banking is quite demanding when hiring staff, but in case these people are fully qualified to enter the sector, there is no doubt that we can count on them,” he said.
Castro’s statements took place before the launch of the Pan American Congress on Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism to be held in the coastal city of Cartagena on July 13 and 14.
Also under discussion was a proposal by the Attorney General of the Nation, Nestor Humberto Martinez, demanding that the government provide an inventory of funds and assets that are a product of extortion, drug trafficking, and other crimes, during the same time period that the FARC disarms.
The Marxist guerrilla group has been at war with the Colombian government for the better part of six decades, but has recently pledged to demobilize, lay down weapons, and reintegrate into civilian life.
Source: La FM