Mexico to Reward Whistleblowers Reporting Money-Laundering

Mexico announced a program Monday which would reward whistle-blowers with up to one-quarter of any illicit funds or property seized if they report suspected money laundering.

Mexico has struggled to find effective measures to combat a flood of about $10 billion a year in suspicious cash flows possibly linked to drug trafficking.

Under the new plan, people can file reports in person, by telephone or by e-mail. The exact percentage of individual rewards will be determined case by case by a special committee.

Public servants, law enforcement and banking system employees will not be eligible for the rewards, in part because it is already their duty to report suspicious transactions.

Catching money launderers in Mexico is difficult because of loose regulation, a largely cash-based economy, an influx of legal dollars from remittances and other sources, and the increasing sophistication of drug cartels that move proceeds from U.S. and domestic drug sales across borders.

In August, President Felipe Calderón proposed tough new anti-money laundering rules to bar cash purchases of any real estate in pesos and cash purchases of cars, planes and other goods for amounts exceeding 100,000 pesos ($7,700). The measure is still being considered in Congress.

In June, the government imposed its strictest limits ever on transactions in U.S. dollars, limiting tourists and residents who don't have accounts at Mexican banks to dollar transactions of $1,500 a month or less.

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