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.


‘Money laundering is the crime of the future.

Money laundering is sleight of hand… a magic trick for wealth creation… the lifeblood of most drug dealers, fraudsters, smugglers, arms dealers, terrorists, extortionists and tax-evaders. It is also the world’s third largest business. Though a relatively new and in vogue subject, it [money laundering] has in fact been around for many centuries, albeit in a different form. Criminals throughout history have had to hide the source of newly acquired wealth in order to escape prosecution for the crime. However, the scale of the problem has escalated out of all proportion. Former US Secretary of State George Shultz summed it up when he stated:

"Today’s criminals make the Capone crowd and the old Mafia look like small time crooks".

Money laundering is one of the ongoing problems facing the international economy, and from the evidence studied while researching this work, it can be seen that while the fundamentals of this crime remains largely the same, technology has offered, and will continue to offer a more sophisticated and circuitous means to convert ill-gotten proceeds into legal tender and assets. The largely unchecked growth of the Internet presents what has been described as the "Armageddon scenario of banking on the `Net - criminals could have money transferred without any audit trail". There is a total absence of regulation of the Internet and it has been recognised that authorities need to ensure that legislation keeps abreast of technology in order to understand and pick up on any new techniques that professional money launderers may come up with.

There is also a growing realisation about the extent that money laundering and its relationship with organised crime are interlinked. The huge profits that accrue to these criminals from such areas as drug trafficking, international fraud, advance fee fraud, long firm fraud, arms dealing, trafficking in human organs and tissue, etc., will be used not only to facilitate ongoing operations, but to consolidate the wealth, prestige and respectability of those in control of the criminal business. Drug trafficking remains the largest single generator of illegal proceeds: Robinson (1994) stated that more money is spent world-wide on illicit drugs than on food. However, non-drug related crime is increasingly significant.

The characteristics of organised crime are evident in money laundering:

  • it is a group activity, in that it is carried out often by more than one person;
  • it is a criminal activity which is long term and continuing;
  • it is a criminal activity which is carried out irrespective of national boundaries;
  • it is large scale; and
  • it generates proceeds which are often made available for licit use.

These characteristics define a very particular kind of serious criminal activity which, at its most developed, is highly sophisticated and complex. The degree of organisation that is displayed in money laundering is therefore of particular concern because of its scale, its capacity to exploit and influence the legitimate business world and its capacity for internationalisation. These concerns have led to concerted international action for a solution to combat this growing menace called Money Laundering. This is particularly evident, not only in the formation of the FATF but also in international agreements and legislation. In fact, a watershed in the fight against money laundering was the publication of the FATF 40 Recommendations in 1990 - recently updated in 1996.