What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering involves taking criminal proceeds and disguising their illegal sources in order to use the funds to perform either legal or further illegal activities. Simply put, money laundering is the process of making ‘dirty’ money look clean.
When a criminal activity generates substantial profits (often in the form of cash), the individual or group involved must find a way to use the funds without drawing attention to the underlying activity or persons involved in generating such profits.
Criminals achieve this goal by disguising the source of funds, changing the form (e.g. from cash to gold), using unregulated financial service providers or moving the money to a place where it is less likely to attract attention. Money laundering can be achieved through virtually every financial instrument, financial institution or business that handles transactions involving anything of value.
Criminal activities that lead to money laundering (i.e., predicate crimes) can include illegal arms sales, narcotics trafficking, contraband smuggling and other activities related to organised crime, embezzlement, insider trading, bribery and computer related fraud schemes.