Bancos recusam dinheiro da venda da maconha

Clipadão

hempadao 4 fevereiro, 2014

Fonte: Folha de São Paulo

Por SERGE F. KOVALESKI SEATTLE – Em seu escritório na zona norte de Seattle, Ryan Kunkel coloca tijolos de dinheiro vivo -dezenas deles, com mil dólares cada um- num saco. Ao terminar, acomoda o dinheiro no porta-malas da sua BMW e parte para um tenso trajeto pelo centro da cidade, sempre checando se não há ninguém o seguindo.

 

Apesar do ar de criminalidade, não há nada de ilícito no que Kunkel está fazendo. Ele é sócio de cinco estabelecimentos que vendem maconha medicinal e, neste dia, se dirigia ao Departamento da Receita para pagar US$ 51.231 em impostos.

"Transportar tamanha quantidade em espécie é um risco terrível, que me assusta um pouco, porque há na minha cabeça o medo de que o carro que vem imediatamente atrás de mim pode ser o do pessoal que vai nos sequestrar."

Os comerciantes de maconha legalizada nos EUA praticamente só trabalham com dinheiro vivo, porque é difícil para eles abrir e manter contas bancárias e, portanto, aceitar cartão de crédito. O problema ilustra a colcha de retalhos que são as leis federais e estaduais que orientam o comércio da maconha. Embora 20 Estados e o Distrito de Colúmbia (Distrito Federal) autorizem o uso médico ou recreativo da maconha, a droga continua ilegal sob a lei federal.

Por isso, os bancos relutam em oferecer serviços tradicionais para empresas associadas à maconha. Temem que as agências reguladoras e policiais de nível federal os punam pela violação de leis relativas à lavagem de dinheiro, entre outras regras federais.

"Os serviços bancários são a questão mais urgente que a indústria da cânabis enfrenta hoje em dia", disse Aaron Smith, diretor-executivo da Associação Nacional da Indústria da Cânabis, em Washington, acrescentando que a venda legal de maconha nos EUA pode chegar a US$ 3 bilhões neste ano. "Tanto dinheiro flutuando por fora do sistema bancário não é seguro e não é do interesse de ninguém."

Os donos de empresas que vendem maconha já conceberam estratégias para evitar as suspeitas dos bancos. Vários escritórios jurídicos abriram contas ao estabelecerem holdings que ocultam a natureza do negócio. Alguns proprietários simplesmente usam contas bancárias pessoais. Outros recorreram a gerentes de bancos locais dispostos a assumir riscos.

Mas as instituições financeiras acabaram fechando muitas dessas contas quando os gerentes concluíram que o negócio era arriscado demais. Enquanto estão ativas, no entanto, essas contas podem enfrentar restrições informais, de modo a não atraírem o escrutínio dos executivos bancários, que podem denunciar atividades suspeitas ou serem obrigados a informar depósitos superiores a US$ 10 mil em espécie.

Líderes da indústria da maconha dizem que abrir contas para as empresas permitiria mais transparência e uma regulamentação meticulosa.

Tanto os bancos quanto os empreendedores da maconha gostariam que houvesse diretrizes claras do governo a respeito de como as instituições financeiras podem atender ao setor. O secretário federal de Justiça, Eric Holder, recentemente prometeu novas diretrizes bancárias para as empresas ligadas à maconha. As regras não devem oferecer sinal verde aos bancos, mas orientarão os promotores a não priorizar casos envolvendo empresas de comércio de maconha que usem bancos.



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