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Report: Mexico's G-7 banks highly exposed to money laundering, UIF study finds

Mexico'sseven largest banks, known as the G-7, are among the financial sector companieswith the highest exposure to money laundering and terrorism financing, El Economista reported, citing a new studyby the Finance Ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit, or UIF in Spanish.

The G-7,namely BBVA Bancomer SA Instituciónde Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, Banco Nacional de México SA Integrante del Grupo Financiero Banamex,HSBC México SA Institución de BancaMúltiple Grupo Financiero HSBC, BancoSantander (México) SA Institución de Banca Múltiple, ,Grupo Financiero Banorte S.A.B. deC.V. and Banco InbursaSA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Inbursa, are exposedto operations with clients that engage in activities considered high risk for moneylaundering, the UIF said in its study titled the "First National Study of MoneyLaundering and Terrorism Financing Risks in Mexico 2016."

The studyfound that these banks have reported a high number of cash operations over $10,000in U.S. dollars involving clients at risk of money laundering including foreigners,young people, and recently created companies.

In addition,a high proportion of their reports on suspicious operations are related to servicesin the border region of the country considered to be at high risk for money laundering,while a high percentage of international funds transfers through the banks are withcountries deemed to be at high risk of money laundering and/or financing of terrorism.

Accordingto the study, another reason for concern is that the quality of the informationsubmitted by the banks in their reports on suspicious operations is of low qualityand often does not match the profile or activities of their clients.

Otherfinancial sectors in Mexico considered to be at high risk for money laundering includebrokerage firms, money exchange offices and other commercial banks, the UIF notedin the study.

The studyis in the framework of the U.S.-based Financial Action Task Force's evaluation ofMexico, which is due to be completed in October 2017.