Banco de la Republica
Wire Transfers to Colombia
As an ex-pat, you will become familiar with Banco de la República when you transfer money in Colombia to buy property in Colombia or start a bank account in Colombia. All wire transfers are declared through this central bank. What form you file depends on how the money will be used. For example, Form #4 is for foreign investments, and Form #5 is for expenses or transfers which are not investments.
Wire transfers do get investigated. This is why it’s incredibly important to be upfront and honest about what you intend to do with the money you bring into Colombia, and to get help from a law firm that is experienced in dealing with wire transfers.
Banco de la República is Colombia’s central state-run bank. This organization is responsible for issuing Colombian pesos, regulating exchange rates, and managing the financial policy, among other duties. The headquarters is located in Bogotá.
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Use the Money as Intended
Sometimes people bring money into Colombia thinking they will use it for one thing, and change their minds before the money gets spent–so they spend it on something else. This seems like an innocent mistake, but it is actually a risky venture, since the Supervisor de Finanzas or the Supervisor de Sociedades from Banco de la República could be following up with the money, sometimes years after the fact.
You could be required to prove you spent the money on what you originally said you were going to spend it on, and if you didn’t, you could be looking at fines from $2-4 million COP–if the spending was non-criminal. If the bank suspects money laundering, the punishment could be much worse.
Other Functions of Banco de la República
Interestingly, Banco de la República is also active culturally. It takes care of the Gold Museum (Museo de Oro) and the Luis Angel Arango Library (Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango). The Gold Museum in Bogotá displays a large collection of pre-Hispanic gold work. The exhibitions show how gold and other metals (as well as pottery, wood, stone, and textiles) were used by people before Colombia became Colombia. The library, also in Bogotá, is the most important one in the country and has about 5,000 daily visitors.