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About Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process by which criminals create the illusion that the money they are spending is actually theirs to spend.

We are all guilty of sloppy use of language and it has been commonplace for the funding of terrorism to be regarded as money laundering. But although there may be some similarities, there are also some technical and legal differences.

The Euro is not quite as new a concept as some would have you believe. It is, at its most simple, an extension of a series of unsuccessful measures to stabilise currency movements, and harmonise (some would say homogenise) economies, within Europe.

Money Laundering and the Euro
Extract from "How not to be a money launderer" Ed2
By Nigel Morris-Cotterill
Published 1996.
Second Edition: December 1998
Paperback and e-book (without obsolete appendices) reprinted 2011.

The most hotly argued topic relating to money laundering has long been whether laws do - or even should - relate to tax crimes.

The history of money laundering is, primarily, that of hiding money or assets from the state - either from blatant confiscation or from taxation - and, indeed, from a combination of both. And, of course from those seeking to enforce judgments in civil cases or to follow the money that results from other crime. It is interwoven with the history of trade and of banking.

According to some estimates, some 80% of property crime, for example, theft, is committed to fund drugs habits. If there were no people willing to buy the stolen goods, then there would be no point in criminals committing theft because there would be no money raised.

The simplistic answer to this question is that criminals launder money. But that answer is far too simple to be completely true. The fact is that money launderers are to be found in all walks of life, many acting entirely innocently.

Criminals commit three basic types of crime - crimes of passion or honour, crimes of violence or vandalism and economic crimes.