Chapter 1: Introduction and operationalization
How effective is anti-money laundering policy and is it worth the money spent? This book aims at giving an overview and evaluation of the economic and legal effectiveness of anti-money laundering policies in the 27 EU Member States. It is based on the ECOLEF project, a more than 500-page study on the legal and economic effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing policy in the 27 EU Member States. This EU Action Grant project was commissioned by the EU DG Home Affairs. The project has taken from December 2009 until December 2012. An interdisciplinary team of administrative and criminal law experts, economists, and criminologists, mostly located at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, guaranteed both diversity of disciplines and a homogeneous team of researchers to compare the countries in an identical way. This book aims to give a compact overview of the major threats, hindrances, and positive examples of a successful anti-money laundering policy in the EU Member States from both a legal and an economic perspective. Given the still meagre results on combating terrorist financing (most countries still have had no convictions for terrorists and law enforcement takes place mainly in secret service-like organizations to which we did not have access), we do not treat terrorist financing in this book.