On 12 November, the Executive Cabinet Council passed a bill amending article 253 of the Criminal Code. The initiative establishes that whoever transfers money using unregistered systems for the transmission or compensation of funds, or by any other means lacking the commensurate authorization by a competent body, will be liable to a prison term of eight to fifteen years. The initiative will be presented to the National Assembly for discussion and subsequent approval in the next few weeks.
The measure aims to tackle the problems of illegal money remittances, money laundering and the use of proceeds from criminal activity. Hector Alexander, the Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF, for its acronym in Spanish), pointed out that for years, sending illegal remittances has been only regulated in the administrative area, which has been inefficient in eradicating such practices, thus making it necessary to criminalize them. He added that this rule is expected to be a “preventive and dissuasive measure.”
The insertion in the Criminal Code of the figure referring to the sending or transfer of funds or monies lacking the pertinent authorization, invests it with the features of criminal activity, and will allow the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Directorate of Judicial Investigation to participate in the investigation process.