Research Handbook on Money Laundering
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Research Handbook on Money Laundering

Edited by Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde

Although the practice of disguising the illicit origins of money dates back thousands of years, the concept of money laundering as a multidisciplinary topic with social, economic, political and regulatory implications has only gained prominence since the 1980s. This groundbreaking volume offers original, state-of-the-art research on the current money laundering debate and provides insightful predictions and recommendations for future developments in the field.
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Chapter 15: The scale of the global financial structure facilitating money laundering

Raymond W. Baker


What do we mean by money laundering? Are we referring to money that breaks anti-money money laundering laws? Or are we referring to money that breaks any laws in its origin, movement, or use and therefore is handled in a secretive manner to avoid detection of its illegal trail? The former concept leaves out many forms of illegally generated money. For example, in the United States AML legislation bars principally the knowing receipt of the foreign proceeds of drugs, corruption, terrorist funds, trafficking, bank fraud, and certain treaty violations. Not barred are funds arising from some other forms of racketeering such as handling stolen property, credit fraud, counterfeiting, contraband, environmental crimes, tax evasion, and more. I prefer the latter concept and thus refer to illicit financial flows. Illicit money is money that is illegally earned, transferred, or utilized in any country where it is generated, through which it moves, or into which it arrives. In my use of the term ‘money laundering’, I am referring to the whole gamut of illicit financial flows.

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