Posts Tagged ‘ money laundering

Casablanca’s Cafe Culture

A diplomatic cable was sent in May 2008 from Casablanca describing external, internal, and underground sources of wealth in Morocco.

Most Casablancans acknowledge that at least some of Casablanca’s wealth comes from illicit activities such as drug-trafficking and money laundering. In the words of [name removed], “We have dirty money. The problem is we don’t know how much.” Statistics do not exist to quantify how much of Casablanca’s wealth can be traced to illicit activities. However, one indication can be found in the USG’s own 2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “Morocco is the world’s biggest producer of cannabis resin (hashish) and is consistently ranked among the world’s largest producers of cannabis.” The report estimates that Morocco’s drug trade (mostly to Europe) nets about USD 13 billion per year, more than twice the amount brought in by tourism in 2007. Some portion of this money finds its way to Casablanca, where it is either spent on jewelry, cars, houses and other items, or it is laundered. Referring to the use of cafes as fronts for illegitimate business activities, one finance professional joked that “money laundering creates a nice cafe culture in Casablanca.”

From Cable Reference ID 08CASABLANCA104, 2008-05-23 16:04, Classification CONFIDENTIAL, Origin Embassy Casablanca.