A Systems Theory and Risk-Based Approach
Chapter 2: Introduction to Anti-Money Laundering
INTRODUCTION In this chapter, the literature on anti-money laundering is reviewed in four distinct areas of interest. First, the problem of defining money laundering is deconstructed. Besides it being a semantic issue, the problem of definition is one of crucial importance. Using John Searle’s social construction of reality, an effort is made to articulate a description of what money laundering is, through the very nature of money per se. The focus lies partly on the functionalities that money serves. New developments both in technology and socioeconomic structures that take advantage of such technology become responsible for shaping our preconceptions on the function of money and hence the way we define ML is affected by these dynamics. Following this deconstruction on the nature of money and money laundering, the plethora of problems that come into existence when we try to estimate the scale of the money laundering market are discussed. Even though the attempts to estimate the ML market are deemed to be highly problematic, there appear to be reasons to suggest that the market has indeed increased. Following the treatise on the size of the money laundering market, the major international initiatives against ML are presented in clear chronological order so that the description of their evolution is outlined. A brief description of the most important initiatives is presented and an attempt is made to categorize the major contributions stemming from these initiatives. Finally, some features of the global AML arena are discussed. These aim at providing the reader with...
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