I will admit that I was quite excited when a copy of the ‘Handbook of Anti Money Laundering’ landing on my doormat 3 weeks ago. As a working finance professional, money laundering has always been a topic that has gained and lost my attention with the natural eb and flow of scandal and regulatory change. With it’s inherent link with organised crime and corporate fraud, it has always been an intriguing area, albeit disconnected from my own experiences.
The nature of fraud is mysterious and secretive. The actions themselves are purportrated behind closed doors, and are concealed by those who commit them. Even when discovered by a companies internal management, the investigation of such matters are often kept as a private matter to minimise the reputational damage to the organisation. Taken together, the frequency and size of money laundering risks to financial institutions is obscured.
Picking up a copy of the Handbook is like pulling up the shutters and catching a glimpse of a thief in action. There were a few ‘aha!’ moments as I read through the introductory section ‘The Process of Money Laundering’ which details the many tools and methods that criminals use to take cash obtained through criminal acts, and effectively intergrate the funds into the financial system.
The objectives of money laundering are simple – to give dirty money a paper trail that provides the appearance of legitimacy. The proceeds of crime are effectively worthless until this task has been achieved – meaning that for every major crime, there exists a (hidden) process of laundering.
This title has been written primarily for employees of banking institutions, to serve as a reference guide to the legislation and regulatory structure in place for banks, as well as the duties and responsibilities placed upon them in their job. The emphasis is both on how to design systems for prevention and detection, as well as how to ensure the subsequent investigation is handled appropriate (for example is not hampered by tipping off the suspect; which would give the opportunity for them to disappear).
It is clear that the publishers intended this to be a comprehensive and up-to-date reference guide. The ‘Country Profiles’ section is exetensive (forming over half the volume) and lists the key rules and regulations for 37 different jurisdictions around the world – mainly the larger countries and offshore banking territories such as the Cayman Islands.
Due to this attention to detail and broad scope, the Handbook of Anti-Money Laundering by Dennis Cox is a must-have for banking employees involvement in compliance / other ML activities.