Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 8: Economic crime and terror: spinning a web of greed and fear
“No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself” opines Plato, but the abundance of criminals and criminally derived wealth seems to challenge this philosophy. Economic crime, financial crime, white collar crime are all different terms used to describe offences where both the means of commission and the objectives involve money. Whatever the name, these are menacing crimes with potentially devastating consequences. The range of economic crimes is extensive, but the focus of this chapter will be confined to money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and terrorist financing as, in many instances, they share a common methodology. Successful money laundering severs the links between the criminal, the crime and the proceeds of crime. If the money cannot be linked to the crime or its perpetrator, the criminal can enjoy the success of his criminality and continue to build his illicit enterprise without fear of apprehension and prosecution. Money laundering has therefore been described as “the criminal’s way of trying to ensure that, in the end, crime pays”. However, apart from insulating the criminal and his ill-gotten gains, the wider implication of money laundering is that it can negatively impact every aspect of society by causing severe economic, political and social damage. In this context, the drug trade has been viewed as “the greatest single threat to the social, economic fabric of the (Caribbean) … Unchecked it will destroy us, absolutely destroy us … the money available is just too great.
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