MEXICO CITY: The head of the Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit, a part of the finance ministry tasked with combating and preventing money laundering, resigned on Wednesday, reported by Reuters.
The resignation of Alberto Bazbaz comes amid a seismic shift in Mexico’s political landscape ahead of a key July presidential election and follows a critical report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that sets global standards for fighting illicit finance.
The FATF’s report last week criticized Mexico for failing to systematically prosecute money launderers.
Bazbaz’s reasons for resigning from the position he held since 2013 were not immediately clear.
Following the FATF report, Mexico’s acting attorney general said on Thursday that prosecutors were already working to improve investigations and cooperation with other countries.
The FATF report highlighted that Mexico has been slipping in successful convictions. The country already lagged regional peers such as Colombia and Brazil, both of which have made strides in setting up independent prosecutors.
Mexico is making little headway in seizing illicit cash, according to the government’s own estimates. It seized just $32.5 million in 2016, representing less than 0.1 per cent of the $58.5 billion of illicit revenues the government estimates are generated by organized crime annually.