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International Money Laundering: Research and Investigation Join Forces

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1992
8 pages
In response to the rise in drug trafficking and money laundering operations over the past decade, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) co-sponsored, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a conference on international money laundering. The conference provided a forum for comparing laws and investigative practices.
The first explicit Federal money laundering statute was the 1986 Money Laundering Act. Until that time, the main law enforcement tools used against money laundering originated from the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. Other weapons against illegal transactions include Federal criminal and civil forfeiture provisions. At the time of this conference, the laws on money laundering varied greatly between countries. The U.S. has entered into mutual legal assistance treaties with several foreign governments and has participated in various multilateral organizations and programs to combat international money laundering. The international money laundering process has three primary steps. First, the criminals remove illegally obtained money from the U.S. by smuggling it out or through electronic funds transfers and currency exchanges and place it into foreign accounts. The second step is to legitimize the dirty money so that it appears to be derived from legitimate enterprises, and finally, the launderers must repatriate the funds back to the U.S. Participants at the conference believed research in this area should focus on laws and regulations and on law enforcement cooperation with financial institutions. 5 figures, 28 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1992