Obsessed as I am, my little ears prick up whenever I hear the words “money laundering”. And I have made it something of a hobby to watch/read/listen to anything that claims to have a money laundering flavour to it. Jeff Bezos of Amazon can probably retire on the profit from the books and DVDs I have bought from him, some with only the faintest whiff of money laundering about them – one particular low point was a novel about an investigator and her feline sidekick (yes, feline) who travel to Tenerife to look into suspected money laundering. Oh dear.
However, it has been interesting to track, over the years, the way in which money laundering is presented. It used to be something quite esoteric and specialist, requiring all sorts of convoluted explanations by the maverick hero or the arresting-officer-with-a-dodgy-past-and-secret-addiction. But now it seems that everyone has heard of it, and it can simply be dropped in as a familiar crime. The other evening I was doing the ironing in front of “New Tricks” (I know: you thought the life of an AML obsessive was glamorous but not that glamorous) and someone said, “And it seems he’s been involved in all sorts of crimes: smuggling, tax evasion, extortion, money laundering.” I waited, but explanation there was none. Apparently the “New Tricks” audience is simply expected to know what money laundering is. Thankfully there was no feline sidekick this time.