OAS Urges Steps to Halt Money Laundering

SANTIAGO, Chile - The Organization of American States has urged Latin American nations to take rapid steps to stop the laundering of billions of dollars of drug money in the region.

Delegates to the OAS annual meeting said drug trafficking generated $500 billion a year in Latin America, more than the whole region's strapping foreign debt. But no Latin American nation has enacted legislation against money laundering.

As the region moves to liberalize its economies, some countries fear changes in banking laws will scare off badly needed foreign investment.

"It is a very thorny issue," said Heraldo Munoz, Chile's ambassador to the OAS. "We have to combine the opening up of our economies with the need to control laundering."

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