On 9 November, Insight Crime reported that Paraguayan authorities have announced sanctions against Banco Itaú, a major Brazilian bank in the latest case of Latin American governments cracking down on financial institutions that do not comply with AML regulation. The bank had allegedly failed to report suspicious transactions to the Secretariat for the Prevention of Money or Property Laundering (Secretaría de Prevención de Lavado de Dinero o Bienes – SEPRELED). This was the largest fine related to money laundering in Paraguayan history. The article also reminds one that, in June 2019, the bank had agreed to return $13.1 million to the 4.7 million customers it overcharged in 2008-18, as well as paying a penalty of nearly $2 million; in October 2019, Brazil’s Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) anti-corruption probe found Banco Itaú had enabled $16.4 million used for the payment of bribe; and in November 2019, the city of São Paolo fining Itaú $662 million for evading state taxes. It also says that, in 2019, Paraguay was named as the country with the second-highest risk of money laundering in Latin America, and that Brazilian authorities had sought the extradition of former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) to face money laundering charges related to the Odebrecht scandal.
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