In Colombia it is estimated that corruption costs the country $4.2 billion per annum; with bribery so pervasive, it is viewed as a business formality. The ‘contract carousel’ and PetroTiger scandals are examples of the inefficiencies in the current legislation, as well as the endemic issue of collusion between the public and private sectors.
‘Casas de cambio’ have long been used by criminal networks to launder proceeds. Despite a very weak peso, dollars are still bought at bargain prices by ordinary Colombians, linking the typical role of an exchange house in the early stages of a transnational money laundering operation. Combined with corruption and intimidation, the authorities appear incapacitated to counter this well-tested technique.