A Comparative Guide to Anti-Money Laundering
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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?
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Chapter 1: International standards against money laundering

Mark Pieth


Mark Pieth I INTRODUCTION The international standards against money laundering are the starting points for our comparison of anti-money laundering (AML) structures and practice in the four financial centres that are examined in this book. In taking a look at the international developments over the last 15 years, we aim to appraise the level of their implementation at the country level, pinpoint particular national and local solutions and also highlight differences between approaches in the various jurisdictions. This chapter gives an historic narrative of the development of the international rules and, in going beyond the official historiography, raises questions that have hitherto seldom been addressed. Furthermore, although the common assumption that the emergence of international law is a result of policy initiatives put forward by the leading powers is essentially correct, it is equally true – as the participant observer can attest – that outcomes at the international level are also due to personality, circumstance and coincidence and, if we lose sight of these ‘soft factors’ the narrative risks become rather austere. II A CREATING A NEW PARADIGM (1970–1990) New Weapons in the War on Drugs ‘Economic crime’ is as old as the organized economy itself. Criminals invariably need to hide their bounty, but they also want to be able to retrieve and use it as they like. This is an aspect frequently overlooked. So why did the world community in the latter part of the 20th century feel compelled to develop a new concept of criminal law and corresponding rules...

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