Mexico passes law to fight money laundering

Fake notes were hung out to dry during a protest in front of HSBC in Mexico City on July 30. The bank was fined for failing to apply anti-money laundering rules.

Mexican lawmakers have unanimously approved a new federal law restricting cash purchases of real estate, armored cars and jewelry as part of a crack down on money laundering, Milenio reported.

The law will require companies to report cash purchases exceeding 500,000 pesos ($16,000) for property and 200,000 pesos ($39,000) for automobiles and jewelry, Reuters reported.

According to the Associated Press, experts said the new regulation, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday, would put a dent in the estimated $10 billion in drug-money that is laundered in the country every year.

"There is an outcry from society to weaken the financial structures of organized crime and that is what this law is about," Senator Roberto Gil, a member of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN), was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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President Felipe Calderon, also from the PAN, proposed the law two years ago as part of his aggressive offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels.

More than 60,000 people have died in drug-related violence since December 2006 when Calderon deployed thousands of soliders and federal police to fight organized crime. 

Calderon will be leave office in December. He will be replaced by the July 1 presidential election winner Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

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