Trade-Based Money Laundering

Trade-Based Money Laundering

Trade-based money laundering and value transfer are very broad topics. Chapter 1 introduces the magnitude of the problem, gives a general definition, and makes clear that the international trading system is abused by money launderers, terrorists, tax cheats, and many who engage in a variety of financial crimes. Chapter 2 provides an overview of basic trade-based laundering techniques that are referenced in succeeding chapters. Case examples and illustrative diagrams are used frequently throughout the book. The trade-based schemes are not United States centric, but rather come from around the world.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 discuss prominent underground financial systems such as the black market peso exchange, hawala, and fei-chien. Historically and culturally, all of these systems—and others like them—are based on the misuse of international trade. Chapter 6 discusses why and how the international gold trade is prominently used to launder staggering amounts of illicit proceeds. Chapter 7 briefly describes commercial trade-based money laundering, such as diversion, misinvoicing, and transfer pricing. Since trade-based money laundering is so broad, Chapter 8 covers miscellaneous topics that do not neatly fit elsewhere, such as barter trade, the misuse of free trade zones, and others. Chapter 9 discusses how trade is monitored for enforcement purposes and includes insight on innovative countermeasures. Chapter 10 discusses red-flag indicators that can be used by both industry and government to help spot forms of trade-based money laundering and value transfer.

Finally, the conclusion contains recommendations for increasing trade transparency, awareness, and enforcement. And although I try as much as I can to stay away from jargon, acronyms, and technical terms, in order to simplify things for the reader there is a glossary of frequently used terms. In addition, where applicable, chapters contain both abstracts and “cheat sheets” of important points covered.

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