Small real estate brokerage firms operating in red-hot housing markets such as Playas del Coco in Guanacaste are aiding money laundering schemes involving “straw man” real estate transaction and shell companies, the Costa Rica Star reports.

Analysts with the Costa Rica Banking Association are monitoring large wire transfers from overseas and suspect that real estate transactions are helping launder “significant amounts of money.”

Costa Rica is a “magnet for money laundering” thanks to its geographic position, level of education and low crime, the paper said, citing a local consultant for the United Nations. Source:

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