Business Risk

Risk assessments and threat intelligence on business risks that can impact corporations or businesses. Information about money laundering, corruption and other threats to business operations.

During the 2011 Fiscal Year, agents with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized over $150 Million from illegal drug trafficking between the United States and Mexico. The agency also made 428 arrests during cash smuggling operations. Back in FY 2005, agents seized $7.3 Million.

The Mexican Government estimates that up to $64 Billion in illegal drug proceeds is transferred between the US and Mexico each year.

In 2012, the United States Justice Department stated that the amount of money could be as high as $85 Billion.

(More data about illicit financial flows here.)

Source:  Griselda Nevarez, “Money Laundering Fuels Drug Cartels Affecting Border Security,” Huffington Post, April 6, 2013.

On average, the United States Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section investigates around 900 public officials a year.

In total, there are around 500,000 elected officials at all levels across the United States.

(See all political corruption statistics and information.)

Source:  Stephen K. Medvic, “There Is Very Little Corruption in U.S. Politics,” New York Times, Opinion, Room for Debate, April 3, 2013.

A study published in Mexico found that the Sinaloa Drug Cartel controls up to 80 percent of the illegal methamphetamine market in the United States.

(How much does meth cost?)

Researcher Jose Luis Leon from the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico found that the trafficking of meth is a global industry.

The cartels first purchase precursor chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudophedrin from supplies in Asia. The two products are banned in Mexico and must be purchased abroad. After the chemicals are shipped to ports in Mexico and Guatemala, it is then transported to meth labs in Michoacan, Jalisco, Sonora and Sinaloa.

From the labs, the meth is smuggled across the border and sold in the United States.

The money generated from the US sales is then sent to China, where it is used to purchase additional drug precursors. Mexican drug cartels are also using the funds to purchase domestic appliances and other consumer goods and legally selling those products back in Mexico, thus successfully laundering the illicit revenue.

(Data about cash smuggling and tax evasion here.)

Source:  Santiago Wills, “This Mexican Cartel Controls 80 Percent of the U.S. Meth Trade, Study Finds,” ABC News, April 2, 2013.

An avocado grower in Mexico sated that she was paying Mexican drug cartels up to $16,000 a month in extortion fees.

The cartels charge avocado growers by the hectares, and charge extortion fees to avocado packers by the box.

The industry in Mexico generates up to $75 Billion a year in sales. Growers are concerned that buyers will begin to avoid their product if the think that a portion of their sales are lining the pockets of the cartels. Thus, most growers are not raising their prices to cover the extortion fees.

Source:  “Drug cartels weigh down Mexico’s ‘green gold’,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2013.

There are around 2,200 online gambling websites that illegally provide gambling services to customers in Australia, according to government officials.

The customers betting at these website lose an estimated $1.04 Billion (1 Billion Australian Dollars) in illegal internet gambling activities.

Source:  Asher Moses, “Online apps take bite of illegal betting,” Age, April 1, 2013.


From 2010 to February 2013, security officials in Costa Rica seized 22 tons of cocaine and 377,000 doses of crack cocaine.

Officials also destroyed almost 4 million marijuana plants within the country, and seized $10.5 Million in cash from drug trafficking organizations.

(More intelligence about illicit cash transactions. )

Source:  Mario Garita, “Communities, police fight narco-trafficking,” Inside Costa Rica, March 28, 2013.

The Tax and Customs Board estimated that up to $282 Million (€220 Million) in Value-Added Tax (VAT) was evaded in Estonia in 2012. The amount of fraud represented 15 percent of all taxes collected by the government.

There are over 70,000 companies in Estonia that are liable to charge VAT, and the government has identified 12 percent, or 10,000 companies that have not properly paid their taxes.

In 2011, the amount of tax evaded was $296 Million (€231 Million), and $231 Million (€180 Million) in 2010.

Source:  “Value-Added Tax Evasion Estimated at €220 Million Last Year,” Estonia Public Broadcasting, March 28, 2013.

According to the FBI, an estimated $2.6 Billion is illegally gambled on the N.C.A.A.  Men’s Basketball Tournament in the United States, commonly known as March Madness.

Across the United States, its estimated that up to $500 Billion is bet on sports by Americans each year at illegal casinos or online websites.

(More illegal sports betting statistics and figures.)

Source:  Joe Drape, “Cash-Hungry States Eye Sports Betting, to Leagues’ Dismay,” New York Times, March 27, 2013.

According to a report by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), between $4.8 Billion to $14.6 Billion (5 Billion to 15 Billion Canadian Dollars) in was laundered in Canada in 2011.

FINTRAC also reported 777 cases of suspicious transactions to law enforcement and government agencies during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

(Threat intelligence on illicit financial transactions.)

Source:  Laura Payton, “Money laundering laws not working, Senate committee says,” CBC News, March 21, 2013.

23.5 Billion illegal cigarettes were smoked in Pakistan in 2012. Illegal tobacco consists of cigarettes that avoided tax payments, were smuggled into the country, or were counterfeits.

Tobacco taxes in Pakistan make up 68.5 to 81 percent of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes.

Source:  Javed Mirza, “Illicit cigarette trade to cost Rs100 billion to exchequer,” The News (Pakistan), March 19, 2013.