Published On: Wed, Dec 17th, 2014

Mexico: third place for illegal export of money, $512 billion USD in 10 years

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Mexico is among the top three developing or emerging countries in the world for the illegal export of capital over the last 10 years, says the latest report by the research organization, Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

It says that US $514 billion has left the country illegally between 2003 and 2012, for a yearly average of $51.4 billion. In its study of 151 countries, GFI found that phony invoices were employed in 78% of all illicit financial flows.

China topped the list with a 10-year total of $1.25 trillion and a yearly average of $125.24 billion, followed by Russia whose total for the decade was $973.86 billion and its yearly average $97.39 billion.

GFI said the total for all 151 countries hit a record $991.2 billion in 2012, a figure that has been growing by 9.4% per year during the decade, which is about double global growth in Gross Domestic Product in the same period.

The organization’s president said the report demonstrates that these illicit flows of funds “are the most damaging economic problem plaguing developing and emerging economies.” They’re draining about a trillion dollars a year from poor and middle-income countries, said Raymond Baker.

More troubling, he said, is the rate at which the flows are growing, meaning that unless world leaders address the problem it will be impossible to achieve sustainable global development.

A co-author of the report says the illicit flows have major consequences for developing economies. It is money “that could have been invested in local businesses, health care, education or infrastructure,” said Joseph Spanjers.

The most common method for moving money across borders is trade misinvoicing, in which the value of a transaction is either under or over-reported on the invoice submitted to customs. GFI describes it as a form of trade-based money laundering.

“By fraudulently manipulating the price, quantity or quality of a good or service on an invoice, criminals can easily and quickly shift substantial sums of money across international borders,” says the organization, which conducts research and advocacy with the objective of ending illicit financial flows.


For Mexico, that outflow was measured at $38.84 billion in 2003, and shot up to $65.57 billion, the highest ever, in 2010. The amount dropped to $59.65 billion in 2012.

That’s just about enough to build 15 high-speed trains.

Global Financial Integrity

Mexico Travel Care




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