A report issued recently by the Mexican news page ‘La Verdad TV’ alleges that entrepreneurs from the Corozal Free Zone have been informed by the government of Belize and the administration of the free zone, that they face the imminent risk of the commercial area closing down, due to the difficulties being faced at the time by the banking sector as it relates to closing ties with US correspondent banks.
According to the report, the Central Bank of Belize has lost correspondents with at least three major banks in the United States, including City Bank and Chase Manhattan, which handled transactions of merchants with their suppliers in the free zone. In the report the reason given for the loss of correspondent banking is, because Belize is recorded in the 2013 Red List of the Financial Action Task Force (GIFE) in Central America and the Caribbean, on suspicion of money laundering.
The report goes on to state that information given by merchants is that the situation at the Free Zone escalated since mid-2015, and in December, many stores ran out of goods, because they could not materialize payments from their North American suppliers, and because correspondent banks are essential for any international transaction such as those at the free zone, they fear that the fate of the free zone is uncertain at this moment.
Today when we tried to get some clarity on the situation from the administration at the commercial free zone, CEO of the free zone, Raul Rosado, responded by pointedly stating that he is not in the position to make official comment of mere rumors and as far as he is concerned the report is just that, rumors.
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