Due to little governmental oversight, Central American production companies are using concerts as way to launder money, according to Guatemala’s former vice president.

Through concerts in which in it is difficult to verify audience attendance against concert earnings, concert promoters launder money with little government oversight, said Eduardo Stein, former Guatemalan vice president and coordinator of the studio center laRED.

“Our studios have helped us determine that a form of money laundering has been operating for years without any scrutiny,” Stein said. He added that the assassination of Argentinean folk singer Facundo Cabral was linked to this illicit business.

Cabral was murdered in July while on his way to the airport in Guatemala City following a concert the previous evening in the southwestern Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango. The Guatemalan government said that Cabral’s murder was a planned attack and that the target of the attack was Cabral's Nicaraguan promoter Henry Fariñas.

Fariñas, who is the owner of the Central American chain of adult night clubs called "Elite,” was wounded in the attack.

“The person they meant to kill was the owner of a prostitution ring in Central America who probably uses the concerts to launder his earnings,” Stein mentioned. “He is known for organizing impressive concerts with international artists.”

Stein said that a lack of funding was a major reason was money laundering at concerts were able to flourish throughout the region.

He went on to say that while there are many laws in place against money laundering, there is still a lapse in the implementation of these laws. He indicated that this breach is due to legislators and mayors renouncing the transparency of their public funds management.

The former vice president also expressed his concern for Central American governments that pass laws that permit them to seize property, noting that putting these laws in effect as a judicial tool might in turn become a tool for political control.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press. 

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