A Comparative Guide to Anti-Money Laundering

A Comparative Guide to Anti-Money Laundering

A Critical Analysis of Systems in Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the USA

Edited by Mark Pieth and Gemma Aiolfi

Topical and pertinent issues addressed in this book include questions such as, has all the recent legislative activity really put a stop to the problem? Are the international rules being implemented as carefully as they should? How level is the playing field in cross border banking?

Executive summary

Mark Pieth and Gemma Aiolfi

Subjects: law - academic, corruption and economic crime, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


Mark Pieth and Gemma Aiolfi INTRODUCTION • The Basel Institute on Governance has conducted a comparative study of the anti-money laundering systems in Singapore, Switzerland, USA and the UK, each of which is an important financial centre in particular in cross-border banking. • The study starts out by examining the international standards, tracing their historical and political roots and pointing out the driving forces that have shaped this topic in recent years. • Thereafter, the four financial centres are reviewed from their individual economic perspectives and assessed for their domestic importance as well as their position internationally. • Substantive legal reviews of the current position in each country were conducted in situ according to a set format which covered criminal and supervisory regulations in relation to anti-money laundering as well as mutual legal assistance and confiscation. • In the final section of the study, the research in relation to the four countries is analysed and subjected to critique, with final conclusions rounding it off. THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING At the international level, the starting point for the development of anti-money laundering principles was the ‘war on drugs’, which culminated in the UN treaty criminalizing money laundering and establishing the range of topics for all further legal developments. The position changed dramatically in the 1990s with the expansion of money laundering with all serious crimes as predicate offences, including the abuse of power so that it has now become a tool in the repatriation of assets. Soft law, that is, non-binding recommendations that are...