Amex investment spotlights e-commerce’s money laundering problem


March 13 2018

As U.S. banks struggle to cope with traditional money laundering, criminals are gravitating toward a cheaper, easier way of money laundering — through e-commerce. While banks won’t knowingly accept known drug cartels or terrorist organizations as merchants, criminals have three ways around this

One is to create innocent-looking websites that sell flowers or furniture or something innocuous and funnel the illegal transactions through the acceptable site. Another is to take advantage of well-established e-commerce sites, and a third is to funnel money through merchant affiliate networks. The problem is growing as the use of e-commerce itself evolves, according to Harshul Sanghi, managing partner of American Express Ventures, the strategic investment group of American Express, which announced Tuesday that it is investing in EverCompliant, a startup intent on stamping out e-commerce-related money laundering.