Article: US state department names more than 50 corrupt officials in Central America

Article - Media

US state department names more than 50 corrupt officials in Central America

Associated Press in Guatemala City, 01 July 2021

The US state department has named more than 50 current and former officials, including former presidents and active lawmakers, suspected of corruption or undermining democracy in three Central American countries.

Among the most prominent figures on the list are former Honduras president José Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa and his wife Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo. The State Department report alleges Lobo Sosa took bribes from a drug cartel and his wife was involved in fraud and misappropriation of funds. Both deny the allegations. Bonilla’s conviction on related charges was invalidated by the supreme court last year and she is awaiting a new trial. Continue reading “Article: US state department names more than 50 corrupt officials in Central America”

Article: Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering

Article - Media, Publications

Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering

Martin Cheek, 02 June 2021

Money laundering, for the general public, is the stuff of gritty dramas like Ozark or the notorious dealings of Pablo Escobar and El Chapo. In popular culture, it is depicted as an activity to be done in the dark of night with neatly-stacked wads of cash deposited into duffel bags. The reality, however, is much more banal, with most money laundering occurring in the guise of an unremarkable series of transactions designed to obfuscate the trail for any who might be inclined to investigate.

The real estate sector has long been a favorite of money launderers, as the lack of regulation and use of shell companies have enabled them to “wash” a large quantity of cash through the system in one transaction. The truth is that nobody really knows how much money is laundered through real estate—not least because much of it currently goes undetected. This opacity might serve shady operators well, but it can have catastrophic effects on the rest of the economy, as the 2008 housing crisis demonstrated all too devastatingly. Continue reading “Article: Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering”