Brazil Proposes Changes in Anti-Money Laundering to Facilitate International Cooperation

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Jorge Nemr
The Brazilian Government is preparing a bill to help Brazilian authorities fight money laundering, both in Brazil and abroad. According to figures produced by the Conselho de Controle de Atividades Financeiras (COAF) (Council for the Control of Financial Activities). The entity responsible for the exchange of financial information with its counterparts abroad, U.S. $ 500 billion (or 2% of global GDP) originating from such criminal activity circulates worldwide each year. The major innovation of this bill, which will be forwarded to the Chamber of Deputies, is the possibility of blocking suspicious funds administratively and on a temporary basis. Currently in Brazil, bank accounts, assets, and other values may be ?frozen? solely upon a judicial order. Worldwide, measure to allow executive freeze order, which avoid the bureaucracy of the judicial system, are not new and have been adopted by several countries, including a few ?tax havens.? With the proposed law, Brazilian authorities would obviate the need to use the ?rotatory letter,? which is the sole manner through which Brazil may require international judicial cooperation from foreign authorities.