The American administration is seriously dealing with the country’s economy: it started “repairing” it by struggling with money laundering. The USA believes that the struggle with the money laundering is one of the most important directions of the anti-terrorist war. The White House administration developed another strategy (the word “strategy” is rather popular in the White House), and, this time, it is meant to put an end to money laundering.
This illegal financial practice is working very well in the world now. As Washington ProFile reported, this activity is evaluated in the sum of between $600 billion – $1.8 trillion each year, according to the calculations of the International Monetary Fund.
It often happens that terrorists are also involved in this activity, and not only swindlers or organized criminal groups. Several criminals were convicted in the USA in June; they laundered money for the Hizbollah terrorist organization. It is interesting how the terrorists earned their money, as they were dealing with illegal cigarette sales.
More than ten million dollars were confiscated in the United States within the scope of the anti-money laundering program. Terrorists use so-called non-state, non-commercial organizations, because their activity is not subject to tax payments. The accounts of several Islamic organizations were blocked during the war against terrorism, and they were dealing with “charity.” As a matter of fact, as they believe in the USA, the funds were laundering terrorists’ money, and the profit was spent to support their structures.
The mentioned agency reported that the assets of terrorist-linked organizations were blocked in 160 countries of the world. The black list includes 210 such organizations as of June of 2002. More than 500 accounts were blocked, accumulating $112 million.
American law-enforcement bodies confiscated more than one billion criminal assets in the year 2001; $300 million of that sum was confiscated within the scope of the anti-money laundering struggle. More than 1.1 million criminals were indicted for money laundering in 2000.
Not all money laundering activities are connected with terrorism. The American special services arrested the vice president of a bank in June of 2002, who allegedly laundered about $500 million within eight months. A police officer from New York was convicted for laundering between six to ten million dollars, which he obtained from drug sales.
Money laundering is one of the most important elements of the “efficient work” of transnational and organized criminal groups. Washington ProFile reported that money laundering activity includes several operations, the goal of which is to conceal the sources of financial assets so that criminals can use those assets without compromising themselves. Those operations are usually divided into three stages. First, the illegal income is put into financial institutions with the help of deposits, electronic money transactions, etc. Then, the profit of the criminal activity is divided from their sources with the help of complicated financial operations. Stage three includes external legal transactions for masking the illegal income, when a criminal tries to transform illegal income into the funds of legal origin.
It just so happens that up-to-date financial systems assist in the growth of commercial activity, but they also give wide opportunities to criminals. The entire process of money laundering basically happens within the framework of financial systems.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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