Chapter 9

Investigating Money Movement

Money Laundering Is Now Transnational Organized Crime

In 2002, the United Nations sponsored the Palermo Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, resulting in an agreement signed by 184 countries. This framework establishes international cooperation in fighting organized crime and addresses money laundering and terror financing.

Palermo built upon the first and second Basel Accords. A third Basel meeting is thought to be in the works. The original Basel participants were the central banks of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Basel I and Basel II set the stage for most of the anti-money-laundering (AML) provisions in place today.

Building on this foundation, legal and regulatory requirements have made specific chargeable acts within the illicit movement of funds. These have not been universally accepted. In the United States, efforts to require financial institutions to confirm the source of customer funds met great resistance. Banks, specifically, felt that they were going to be held accountable for the criminal acts of others. After much debate, the final requirement was for enhanced know-your-customer rules, requiring verification of the individual's identity by an official government issued identity document and retention of documents used in opening accounts.

Succeeding in the Investigative Process

Success in money laundering ...

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