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Crime impedes Mexican economic growth: surveys

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico ranks second only to China in financial losses to crime, corruption and tax evasion over the last decade, according to one of a new series of studies that concur that criminality is a major obstacle to Mexico's economic growth.

Mexico saw an estimated US$476 billion leave the country through corruption, criminal activity or sale of illegal goods between 2001 and 2010, a distant second behind China with US$2.7 trillion, according to the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity.

Nearly half of the multinational companies in the Annual Global Fraud Survey from the private security and risk-management firm Kroll said they feel vulnerable to corruption in Mexico, the highest percentage for any country next to India. The firm polled 839 senior executives worldwide.

The Kroll report notes that under former President Felipe Calderon, 83 people were convicted of money-laundering, “a tiny number given the size and extent of the problem.”

A third report released this month shows that Mexican businesses lost US$9 billion in 2011 to insecurity and crime.

The study released last week by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, the country's census bureau, said more than one-third of 27,000 companies surveyed were victims of crime in 2011. Six out of 10 companies did not report the crime to Mexican authorities.

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