Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips
Chapter 9: The governance of money laundering
What are the drivers behind the anti-money laundering (AML) governance framework? Who are the actors and institutions, and what is the policy content? This chapter provides an overview of the processes and mechanisms of AML policy-making. AML is often presented as a financial problem, and something, moreover, that is key to debates about international political economy (IPE) since it goes to the heart of the integrity of the financial system and also, at least in principle, aims to impose controls on the movement of money. Yet, as a policy concern, thinking about money laundering was developed away from traditional settings for the regulation of global finance. Instead, AML policies were driven by and linked to the public policy objectives of law and order. As a result, the governance of money laundering encompasses a broad set of goals, techniques and professional knowledge. It brings together different types of official bodies and private institutions, more or less international in their orientation. Reconciling their aims and building a global regime that can translate into effective and tailored policies on the ground is thus a major challenge for the governors of money laundering. This challenge is made more acute by the lack of appropriate success criteria. By its very nature, AML is an issue area where defining and assessing the size of the problem is difficult enough: there is no reliable methodology for estimating the amounts laundered and much criminal activity behind money laundering remains undetected.
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