You know how I advocate admitting when you don’t know something? Well, I must confess that I do not always follow my own advice…. There is a particular concept that I have never understood, and I have always been too ashamed to say so and ask for an explanation. Despite my cowardice, the gods have smiled on me, and today the hitherto-unknown-but-henceforth-adored website L.A.NOW has solved the mystery for me. No, it’s not why a nice English girl like Katie Holmes would marry the nut-fest that is Tom Cruise – that particular conundrum remains unravelled. It is this: just how does the Black Market Peso Exchange work?
Bit of background: there is a business in LA called the Angel Toy Company. Its owners have just been sent to prison for laundering money for Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers via the BMPE. And here’s the lovely, clear, unforgettable explanation from the sainted reporter Dalina Castellanos out there in sunny SoCal: “Colombian and Mexican clients dropped cash off at the company’s downtown headquarters or deposited it directly into the company’s bank accounts. The cash entered the legitimate financial system through numerous deposits into accounts held by a legitimate business in the US. The money is returned to drug traffickers when actual goods, like teddy bears, are exported to the foreign countries and sold to generate local ‘clean’ money.” And you know what: I really, actually, honestly, finally get it. Which just goes to show that you can never be certain where knowledge will come from; I’ve read dozens of learned explanations of the BMPE, some with very fancy flowcharts, but it’s taken the teddy bears to make it clear.