Although the term Anti-Money Laundering is primarily utilized in the Financial Services realm, it has become a more widely used term in recent years. Mostly, Anti-Money Laundering are controls that require financial institutions and other businesses that are regulated to prevent, detect and report suspicious activities. Initially, this gained the most traction domestically within the United States. Eventually, most countries around the world have joined in.
With a click of a button, funds can be transferred anywhere around the world. While most transactions are legal, the speeds in which illegal funds from specified unlawful activities are moved have become enormous. It is not just drug trafficking but involving white-collar crime and corporate fraud as well.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has developed global standards for the exchange of information for tax purposes and standards for global transparency. Through their efforts, many cooperating countries have Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) that can exchange financial information. The Egmont Group is the coordinating entity for these FIU’s. The FIU’s provide invaluable information to many global law enforcement agencies.
When I was the Chief of IRS Criminal Investigations I was very involved with members of the OECD in working on global cooperation. As the leader of the premier financial investigators in the world, I was responsible for providing financial investigative training to many of the FIU’s. The FIU’s globally are able to share information regarding tax evasion and information relative to terrorist financing. When it comes to these topics, the global members of the OECD, FIU’s, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are all in agreement to assist each other.
I worked closely with law enforcement and Departments of Revenue in Europe and Asia, and South America to combat terrorist financing, international tax evasion and money laundering.
Although there is much more work to be done, the world is becoming more transparent, especially in the financial services industry. Global enforcement in the areas of money laundering, international tax evasion and terrorist financing are sure to increase. Stay tuned.