FBI opens Miami task force to shut door on foreign corruption, money laundering

Recent high-profile cases have involved Venezuelan buyers of luxury condos

Miami river skyline (Credit: iStock)
Miami river skyline (Credit: iStock)

The FBI is looking to clamp down on foreign corruption with a new task force in Miami, a city that has long served as a gateway for illicit money laundering.

The squad will concentrate on Miami and on international corruption in South America, according to the Associated Press. The FBI said it often finds people hiding their money in luxury South Florida real estate and and luxury boats. And in recent months, federal authorities have uncovered a number of high profile money laundering case tied to Miami area real estate.

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The task force will look to find individuals and companies who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or those who are looking to bribe foreign officials. The federal agency said it is also working with companies to educate them about corruption and to self-report illicit behavior, according to the AP. The office will open this month and have six agents.

Most recently, top Venezuelan officials allegedly siphoned money out of the country’s state oil company and into South Florida real estate properties, including two condos at Dezer Development’s Porsche Design Tower and one condo at Related Group’s Icon Brickell. But developers and real estate agents have minimal obligations to perform due diligence on their buyers or where the money came from, according to Real Deal investigation last summer. [AP] — Keith Larsen