Money laundering is the generic term used to describe the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source.
The processes by which criminally derived property may be laundered are extensive. Though criminal money may be successfully laundered without the assistance of the financial sector, the reality is that hundreds of billions of dollars of criminally derived money is laundered through financial institutions, annually. The nature of the services and products offered by the financial services industry (namely managing, controlling and possessing money and property belonging to others) means that it is vulnerable to abuse by money launderers.
There is considerable variation within and across pay scales for compliance and compliance related roles. Salaries tend to focus on the skill sets required for a role, rather than being defined by the job title. Therefore, no two compliance officer roles are likely to be established on the same pay scale.
It is important for any AML professional to recognise, develop and maintain a risk-based and comprehensive anti money laundering/counter terrorist financing framework to mitigate and prevent the threat.
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Money laundering offences have similar characteristics globally. There are two key elements to a money laundering offence:
The act of laundering is committed in circumstances where a person is engaged in an arrangement (i.e. by providing a service or product) and that arrangement involves the proceeds of crime. These arrangements include a wide variety of business relationships e.g. banking, fiduciary and investment management.
The requisite degree of knowledge or suspicion will depend upon the specific offence but will usually be present where the person providing the arrangement, service or product knows, suspects or has reasonable grounds to suspect that the property involved in the arrangement represents the proceeds of crime. In some cases the offence may also be committed where a person knows or suspects that the person with whom he or she is dealing is engaged in or has benefited from criminal conduct.
Different jurisdictions define crime predicating the offence of money laundering in different ways. Generally the differences between the definitions may be summarised as follows:
In practice almost all serious crimes, including, drug trafficking, terrorism, fraud, robbery, prostitution, illegal gambling, arms trafficking, bribery and corruption are capable of predicating money laundering offences in most jurisdictions.
The answer depends upon the definition of crime contained within the money laundering legislation of a particular jurisdiction.
Tax evasion and other fiscal offences are treated as predicate money laundering crimes in most of the worlds most effectively regulated jurisdictions.
The objective of the criminalisation of money laundering is to take the profit out of crime. The rationale for the creation of the offence is that it is wrong for individuals and organisations to assist criminals to benefit from the proceeds of their criminal activity or to facilitate the commission of such crimes by providing financial services to them.
The processes are extensive. Generally speaking, money is laundered whenever a person or business deals in any way with another person’s benefit from crime. That can occur in a countless number of diverse ways.
Traditionally money laundering has been described as a process which takes place in three distinct stages.
Placement, the stage at which criminally derived funds are introduced in the financial system.
Layering, the substantive stage of the process in which the property is ‘washed’ and its ownership and source is disguised.
Integration, the final stage at which the ‘laundered’ property is re-introduced into the legitimate economy.
This three staged definition of money laundering is highly simplistic. The reality is that the so called stages often overlap and in some cases, for example in cases of financial crimes, there is no requirement for the proceeds of crime to be ‘placed’.
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