Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist

April 12 Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:14am EDT

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April 12 (Reuters) - Mexico is preparing to implement new regulations that will allow the government to identify individuals and businesses linked to drug trafficking and ban financial firms from doing business with them, the finance minister said on Saturday.

Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said banking authorities would provide further details in coming days.

"For the first time, we have the capacity to issue a list and this list will impede any financial institution from carrying out transactions with these people," Videgaray told a news conference in Washington D.C., according to a transcript.

The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) periodically issues blacklists of individuals and businesses alleged to be laundering drug gang profits.

Mexico's powerful cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to the United States. U.S. authorities have hailed Mexico's efforts to fight drug gangs and take down major drug lords, but they have also criticized a lack of action to dismantle cartel finances.

Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC, or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Writing by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Paul Tait)

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