Money laundering, repo clearing and a look back at 2017


January 6 2018

Money laundering is not only a crime in itself, but an essential precondition for a host of other crimes. There is no point stealing, or embezzling, or taking bribes, or demanding ransoms, if you do not have a plan for getting your hands on the resulting loot without being hunted down.

Fortunately for the dishonest, it has never been easier to move funds (licit and illicit) across the globe. A great deal of human ingenuity, in various countries around the world, is still devoted to hiding money and disguising its origin – either to permit the immoral rich to avoid taxes they would rather not pay, or to allow criminals to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. For criminals, a practical use case for bitcoin remains the payment of untraceable ransoms. And a steady stream of fines and penalties continues to highlight the degree to which major banks were happy not to enquire too closely about the legality of various geese – as long as they retained the lucrative business of handling the resulting golden eggs.