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Über dieses Buch

This book surveys the development of laws surrounding the crime of money laundering and the associated changes in the anti-money laundering (AML) industry. The policy of attempting to deal with crime by attacking its financial products started in the arena of drugs, but quickly moved to organised crime, terrorism, corruption and tax. Now the focus has shifted once again to organised crime and to immigration. In the wake of the failure of the ‘war on drugs' a huge amount of money is now being spent on a global surveillance and reporting system, and we do not know whether the system works or not.
What Went Wrong With Money Laundering Law? documents the events which, taken independently, could each be seen as rational responses to specific problems and as incremental adjustments to the focus of the law. Taken together, however, it is demonstrated that they have led to significant changes in the law and to the current situation. Underlying the entire AML industry is the crime of money laundering, which, having been devised more to provide a trigger for the reporting machinery than to describe and condemn a particular category of harmful behaviour, is now being used in a far wider range of cases than is appropriate. This book will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners of criminal and financial law, socio-legal studies and criminology.



Chapter 1. Introduction and a Short History

Criminals acquire property by or from their crimes. That is why they do it. It would be good if they could be stopped from enjoying the property and, if instead it was able to be acquired by the State and put to good use, building hospitals and schools or even paying for policing, prosecution, and prisons. It would be better yet if the additional policing effort that was involved could come at no cost to the taxpayer because it was subsumed into the general running expenses and corporate governance procedures of major financial institutions. It would be marvellous if one of the effects of stopping criminals enjoying the property they acquire would be to deter them or others from committing crimes. These simple considerations gave rise to money laundering law. They also gave rise to a crime—money laundering—and a bureaucracy—the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) industry—both of which have grown rapidly and in unforeseen ways.
Peter Alldridge

Chapter 2. Impacts upon Substantive Laundering Law

Thus far the book has traced the curious development of AML, and questioned the empirical foundations upon which the AML/CFT movement was established, and of the narrative underpinning the AML industry. It would be surprising if this series of developments had given rise to a neat, easily comprehensible and rationally defensible set of substantive laws, whose application in any unforeseen cases judges were able easily to divine. That is not what happened. The charge sheet is as follows. AML law has brought a very serious criminal offence into existence without a clear idea of what was wrong with it. It has failed to properly assess the nature of the principle against allowing a criminal to benefit from his/her crime, and in particular without a clear limiting principle based upon its application. It has legislated at every level on the repeated but baseless assumption that financial institutions are endangered by laundering. It has on successive occasions allowed incremental expansion of that crime without appropriate reassessments, and it has afforded insufficient significance to the distinction between crimes with and without victims. It is suggested that for predatory offences restitution to victims rather than confiscation by the government is the appropriate response.
Peter Alldridge


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