'There is a contradictory message coming from these countries,' Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN's Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said late on Monday.
'On the one hand you cannot build the societies using illegal money. On the other hand, these are countries not greatly appreciated by foreign investors, with mass unemployment, mass poverty. Therefore these resources coming in are better than nothing,' he added.
Real estate, tourism and casinos in the region are being used to launder vast sums of money, experts say.
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