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Edited by Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde
Chapter 10: Why do some states tolerate money laundering? On the competition for illegal money
Money laundering is the lifeline of the criminal industry. It is the mechanism through which criminals and criminal organisations ‘conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control’ of their ill-gotten gains, so as to make it possible to investor to consume the proceeds of crime (Gnutzmann et al. 2010). As such, it would seem to be self-evident that every country would want to tackle money laundering. Even more so when the existence of a money laundering market is said to de stabilise the legitimate economy, and to act as a multiplier for crime, corruption, bribery and terrorism. The costs of money laundering, in fact, are so significant that European legislators have suggested the money laundering market threatens to ‘shake the very foundations of society’ (Directive 2005/60/ EC). It is perhaps surprising, therefore, to learn that the enthusiasm with which national governments apply international anti-money laundering policies (hereafter AML) varies significantly from country to country.
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