Billy's Money Laundering Information WebsiteMoney Laundering is a World-wide problem


Billy's Home Page | A Brief History | What is Money Laundering? | How Big is the Problem? | The Money Laundering Process | Stages of the Process | Money Laundering Methods | How Can We Prevent It? | Effects on Financial Institutions | Business Areas Prone To Money Laundering | UK Legislation | Money Launderinng Offences | International Initiatives | The Future | Conclusions | Recommendations 

Money Launderers tool bag
Money Laundering - Stages Of The Process

by Billy Steel


Contents
- - - - - - - - - -

A Brief History
Here is a dig into the origins of Money Laundering and how it came about.

What is Money Laundering?
Definitions of the phrase "money laundering".

How Big is the Problem?
Estimate of the amount of money being laundered annually.

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 launderers.

How Can We Prevent It?
Some measures to prevent this crime.

Effects on Financial Institutions
How this crime affects financial institutions, legally and financially.

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 measures to prevent this crime on an international level.

The Future
Future methods of Laundering cash?.

Conclusions
Some conclusions I have about this area of criminality.

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



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i) PLACEMENT

This is the first stage in the washing cycle. Money laundering is a "cash-intensive" business, generating vast amounts of cash from illegal activities (for example, street dealing of drugs where payment takes the form of cash in small denominations). The monies are placed into the financial system or retail economy or are smuggled out of the country. The aims of the launderer are to remove the cash from the location of acquisition so as to avoid detection from the authorities and to then transform it into other asset forms; for example: travellers cheques, postal orders, etc. (more details follow).

 

ii)LAYERING

In the course of layering, there is the first attempt at concealment or disguise of the source of the ownership of the funds by creating complex layers of financial transactions designed to disguise the audit trail and provide anonymity. The purpose of layering is to disassociate the illegal monies from the source of the crime by purposely creating a complex web of financial transactions aimed at concealing any audit trail as well as the source and ownership of funds.

Typically, layers are created by moving monies in and out of the offshore bank accounts of bearer share shell companies through electronic funds' transfer (EFT). Given that there are over 500,000 wire transfers - representing in excess of $1 trillion - electronically circling the globe daily, most of which is legitimate, there isn’t enough information disclosed on any single wire transfer to know how clean or dirty the money is, therefore providing an excellent way for launderers to move their dirty money. Other forms used by launderers are complex dealings with stock, commodity and futures brokers. Given the sheer volume of daily transactions, and the high degree of anonymity available, the chances of transactions being traced is insignificant.

 

iii)INTEGRATION

The final stage in the process. It is this stage at which the money is integrated into the legitimate economic and financial system and is assimilated with all other assets in the system. Integration of the "cleaned" money into the economy is accomplished by the launderer making it appear to have been legally earned. By this stage, it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish legal and illegal wealth.

 

Methods popular to money launderers at this stage of the game are:

  1. the establishment of anonymous companies in countries where the right to secrecy is guaranteed. They are then able to grant themselves loans out of the laundered money in the course of a future legal transaction. Furthermore, to increase their profits, they will also claim tax relief on the loan repayments and charge themselves interest on the loan.
  2.  

  3. the sending of false export-import invoices overvaluing goods allows the launderer to move money from one company and country to another with the invoices serving to verify the origin of the monies placed with financial institutions.
  4.  

  5. a simpler method is to transfer the money (via EFT) to a legitimate bank from a bank owned by the launderers, as ‘off the shelf banks’ are easily purchased in many tax havens.

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