In Costa Rica, every person or entity providing escrow services must be registered with the SUGEF, which is the authority that oversees the National Financial system. The need for this registration became mandatory just a few years ago.
Because of it, until recently, it was very usual to have attorneys, Real Estate Brokers, hardware Stores, Accountants, Property managers, or any other private entities or professionals providing this kind of services without any kind of regulation or supervision.
In fact, it is important to be alert about this, because even today, there are some people providing this kind of services in a non legal way. (Without registration and supervision).
SUGEF oversees and create regulations over this kind of entities to avoid money laundering and to combat the Financing of Terrorism. So, you may ask: If my money is clean, why this must matters to me? Well, there are very good reasons why this must important to you and us.
The problem is that when you have your money in a pot (or an Account), if later somebody put dirty money in the same pot, your clean money will become dirty. Therefore, if later such account or pot is tracked by police or banking authorities, your money may even be frozen and you could even be involved in a serious criminal investigation. This is why Banks and Financial Institution are very carefully right now to receive money from strangers or money coming from not clean sources.
They must do so to protect the funds of their clients and their own funds and to avoid serious responsibilities or consequences. This is why a good Escrow Agent is also concern about complying with the law and those regulations and this is also why it is very important for you to make sure that you have your funds with an Escrow Agent that makes a proper due diligence of every new client before receiving her/his funds.
SUGEF creates and impose very heavy regulations to Escrow Agents to avoid this kind of situations, but also provide tools to such Agents. Therefore, by having your funds in a registered Escrow Agent, you will have an extra protection, because it will be a lot more difficult for dirty money to be associated with your clean money. And even if some dirty money touches yours, it will not necessary means a problem as long as Escrow Agent has been complying with all regulations, because the authorities will be able to see that the Escrow Agent and its clients was not involved in criminal activities.
SUGEF does not provide a financial guarantee for the funds. The Escrow Agent will be responsible for it. However, there is certain unspoken protection you received by working with a registered Escrow Agent, because the government is watching the Escrow Agent activity; not to mention that these regulations will guarantee not dirty funds will be associated with your money.
Remember, if you deposit money with a non registered agent, the proper authorities can freeze the account at any time because of the suspicious of illegal actitivities. Because we are registered agents and must continuously provide accounting and transparency of all transactions to the government, this provides you reinsurance that your money is safe.
In the future, please remember, it is in your best interest never use a non registered agent, because this could put your money, your investments and your future business transactions in Costa Rica and Central America at risk.
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Please Note: This material is for personal use only and is protected by Copyright Law. It is provided as general information only and does not constitute and is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice. Reliance on this material is solely at your own risk. Always consult your own legal or other professional advisors and discuss the facts and circumstances that apply to your specific case.