history of money laundering What is Money Laundering Money Laundering Methods International Initiatives Future Money Laundering techniques UK Legislation Laundering Offences Contact Us

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A Brief History

Taking a look into the origins of
Money Laundering.

What is Money Laundering?

Definitions of the phrase
"money laundering".

How widespread is the Problem?
Estimate of the amount of
cash being laundered

The Money Laundering Process

The 3 stages of Money
Laundering - Placement -
Layering - Integration.

Stages of the Process

How Money Laundering Stages
are achieved.

Money Laundering Methods

Techniques used by money

How Can We Prevent It?

Some measures to prevent this

Affects on Financial Institutions

How laundering affects financial
institutions, legally and

Business Areas Prone To Money Laundering

Which businesses are targetted
by the money launderer?

UK Legislation

Which legislation in the UK covers Money Laundering.

Money Laundering Offences

What the five basic offences of Money Laundering are.

International Initiatives

Some preventative measures in place on an international level.

The Future

Future methods of Laundering cash?


Some conclusions we have made about this area of criminality.


Some recommendations on what can be done to strengthen the fight against this insidious crime.



The UK has established a three tiered legislative structure in response to the threat from money launderers. This consists of a selection of primary legislation promulgated by Parliament, secondary delegated legislation in the shape of the Money Laundering Regulations 1993, and a third tier of explanatory guidance notes produced by regulatory authorities and trade associations.


Principal Acts of Parliament.

The UK has had specific legislation against laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking since the Drug Trafficking Offences Act (DTOA) 1986. Since then more legislation has been enacted and primary legislation now covers the laundering of proceeds from drug trafficking, terrorism and general crime. However, the legislation has not yet been consolidated and important differences remain between treatment of these three types of proceeds.

The following Acts of Parliament not only contain provisions against money laundering, but they also form a chronology of the developments in the battle against it in the UK.

  1. Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 (DTOA); this is significant in fighting the drugs money threat. Has now been mostly repealed and the money laundering laws relating to drugs trafficking moved to the DTA94.
  2. Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987 (CJSA); Now repealed, this set up the first confiscation mechanism in Scots Law (Section1).
  3. Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA88); Amended by the CJA93 to include certain money laundering crimes.
  4. Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (POTA); This contains a similar provision to that which pertains under the drug trafficking legislation. However, it relates to terrorist funds and is significant in that the legislation applies to terrorist activities committed anywhere in the world, and allows for prosecution in the UK.
  5. Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 (CJICA); This Act introduced new kinds of money laundering offences but these still only relate to the proceeds of drug trafficking. This Act is also the principle source of mutual assistance powers in the UK given to foreign jurisdictions.
  6. Criminal Justice (Confiscation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 (CJO); This order establishes for Northern Ireland drug money laundering offences equivalent to those in section 49 and 50 of the DTA 1994.
  7. Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 (NIEPA); This measure was needed in order to have specific legislation pertaining to specific terrorist-related acts committed within the province. Has some similar money laundering provisions as those contained in the POTA.
  8. Criminal Justice Act 1993 (CJA93); This act is the one which creates the modern offence of money laundering. It is significant that this legislation has been shaped to take account of the EU Directive (1991) which itself was based on the 1988 UN Drugs Convention, the Basle Statement of Principles, recommendations of the G7 Financial Action Task Force and the Council of Europe Laundering Convention. It created various offences and exported them to the Acts dealing with Drugs Trafficking and Terrorism. It is also significant in that it creates offences which relate to the laundering of money which is the proceeds of criminal conduct other than drugs trafficking and terrorism. One of the implications of this Act is that you can be prosecuted in the UK for laundering the proceeds of criminal conduct even though the conduct all took place overseas. The biggest revolution however is that this Act creates, for the first time except under emergency powers, a law that imposes an obligation to report someone else to the police - i.e. the obligation to report a person suspected of money laundering.
  9. Drug Trafficking Act 1994; New law replacing DTOA86. This was brought about to update the law regarding drugs. New money laundering provisions are included to close the loopholes identified by Home Affairs Committee on Organised Crime.
  10. Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1995;
  11. Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995; This Act brought Scotland into line with English legislation. Some sections were derived from the CJA93. The Act also implements certain articles taken from the EU Directive (1991) with yet other sections which equate to sections of the DTA94.
  12. The Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act 1995; This relates to confiscation and forfeiture of criminally derived proceeds. The primary aim of this legislation being that the offender should not be allowed to retain any benefit from their crime.