A few days ago (here, in fact), I talked a bit about a book I am reading called “Treasure Islands”. (No, I haven’t finished it yet – I’m one of those maddening people who read several books at once [one related to money laundering for work breaks, a cheap one for in the bath in case I drop it, a relaxing one for in bed, etc.] and so it takes quite a while to finish them all.) And as you might guess from my love of the subject, I am quite keen on reading about money laundering. In fact, I have a search set up on Amazon so that I can quickly see the latest publications that feature the magic words. (That’s “money laundering”, not “Abracadabra” or “Open Sesame”.) I think I must be personally bankrolling Jeff Bezos’s nth ski lodge/chateau/island paradise, given the number of books I buy in my bid to learn more. Goodness only knows what any burglar would think of my bookshelves – my friends are worried enough.
And more recently, with the expansion of e-books and particularly self-published e-books, I am seeing an interesting development: more and more novels are using money laundering as a plot element. I guess Nick Leeson (or perhaps more realistically, Ewan McGregor playing Nick Leeson on the big screen) made financial crime seem sexy and glamorous, and so we’re getting a slew of books about the City and its daytime inhabitants. Sadly, not many of these novels are terribly well-written or plausible. The usual plot is this: mid-level bank employee (MLBE) has affair with gorgeous and mysterious woman (usually involving desks being used in a most unhygienic manner) who then disappears, along with MLBE’s secure login that he blurted out during an unguarded moment. Money starts disappearing/appearing from client accounts, and basic snooping involves a connection with rather unpleasant people in the Caribbean. MLBE jets off to (a) find woman, and (b) sort out money. He does. The end.
To read about money laundering in other media too, take a peek at this post.