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Money laundering has different legal implications around the world.

Giving a legal appearance to the proceeds of criminal activities such as drug trafficking is a crime that has undermined the development of several countries in the world. In all latitudes is considered a security threatThe country's sovereignty and internal order have led several international organizations to join forces to stop this scourge, which has serious implications.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been one of the institutions that has undertaken the fight against international crime, where money laundering is frequently involved. "This crime offends all of us: natural and legal persons. With illicit money other crimes are financed, unfair and aggressive competition against small and medium enterprises is used, businesses are simulated and people's names are used to involve them in money laundering", summarizes the information posted on the Unodc web portal.

Three basic ways in which this crime can be committed have been identified:

  1. Physical movement of money: involves the transfer or transportation of large amounts of money, almost always in high denominations.
  2. Movement of money through the financial system: involves using the products and technologies offered by the financial sector to move, transform or hide the proceeds of illicit activities.
  3. Movement of goods and services through the national and international trade systems.

However, money laundering always leaves its mark and is found sooner or later. Several countries are taking action to combat the crime. In Colombia, money laundering has 64 underlying offenses established in Article 323 of the Penal Code. It establishes the guilt of anyone who acquires, safeguards, invests, transports, transforms, stores, conserves, guards or administers goods whose origin is related to activities of migrant smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, illicit enrichment, kidnapping for ransom, rebellion, arms trafficking, trafficking in minors, financing of terrorism, financing of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping for ransom and kidnapping for ransom, rebellion, arms trafficking, trafficking of minors, financing of terrorism, trafficking of toxic drugs, narcotics or psychotropic substances, crimes against the financial system, public administration, smuggling, customs fraud in any form. The crime will also be criminalized when the described conducts are carried out on assets whose extinction of ownership has been declared.

Under Colombian law, money laundering is punishable even when the activities that give rise to the assets, or the acts punished have been carried out totally or partially abroad. In this sense, the prison sentences will be increased by one third to one half when it has been demonstrated that foreign exchange or foreign trade operations have been carried out, or goods have been introduced into the national territory.

Venezuela and money laundering

Venezuela joined in 1997 the 40 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering. This crime is contemplated in Article 35 of the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Financing of Terrorism enacted on April 30, 2012.

In this country, the crime of money laundering is monosubjective, it can be committed by a person, and the active subject is undetermined. Likewise, it has been typified as an autonomous crime, that is to say, it is sufficient to demonstrate that the individual knew the illicit origin of the resources to be considered guilty. In this sense, it is required that the subject participates in the conduct intentionally.

Venezuelan legislation identifies this crime criminally through the transfer, concealment, concealment, custody, administration, execution of operations of disposition, transfer or ownership of goods, capital or rights, or conversion of assets derived from the illicit activity of trafficking in narcotic or psychotropic substances.

The basic criminal offense established in the Venezuelan legislation is similar to the one proposed in the Spanish legislation. Similarly, both countries establish the extraterritorial scope of the provisions, although Venezuela defines it in a general manner and Spain makes specific reference to the crime of money laundering.

In the European country, the crime is typified in article 301 of the Penal Code after the reform that took place in 2010. This legislation establishes that the penalty must be imposed at its upper limit in the case of drug money laundering.

Sources consulted