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 31: Money laundering – ‘You don’t see it, until you understand it’: rethinking the stages of the money laundering process to make enforcement more effective

Jan van Koningsveld


Money laundering is considered to be a serious threat to the financial system, both at a national and an international level. On a regular basis, media coverage directs its attention at fraud cases in which money laundering plays a major role. Given the relevance and seriousness of the problem, it is not surprising that policy makers have made quite some effort to tackle money laundering. However, several publications highlight that the approach to combating money laundering has numerous shortcomings and does not appear to be truly effective. The main reasons are a combination of a lack of (a) sufficient knowledge and skills, and (b) the capacity of law enforcement officers regarding the techniques and methods of money laundering (Algemene Rekenkamer 2008, p. 20).In my opinion, the classic idea of money laundering as a three-phase process is not only incorrect and incomplete, but also antiquated (see Figure 31.1). My criticism does not concern the first two stages, but the third. I am of the opinion that this final stage should be subdivided into two separate parts, being justification and finally investment (integration), in order to avoid serious mistakes in legislation and investigation.

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