A little story made me laugh this morning – apparently when police in Calgary in Canada raided the premises of a drug gang, they found an autographed copy of “Crime School Money Laundering” by ex-Mountie Chris Mather. Mr Mather was contacted about his book, and was quick to point out that “it isn’t a how-to”. It made me think of the time years ago when another AML trainer – and I’m not being modest or coy here, it really was someone else – was speaking at an AML conference in South America and came back after lunch to find that someone had pinched his laptop, with all his training material on it.
I have often been asked whether I am concerned about supplying so much information on AML, as it could be found by baddies and used to augment their understanding of the AML effort, thus better equipping them to sidestep it. And indeed it used to worry me, before (a) I got over myself and realised that I was not saying anything that a halfway smart criminal couldn’t work out for himself, and (b) I came round to thinking that it’s actually good to let criminals know just how serious we are about this AML stuff. If they see a jurisdiction riddled with AML legislation, guidance, conferences, training and publications, surely they will put that into their risk analysis and look around for another jurisdiction that is much more silent on the subject. As for Mr Mather, I am nothing but envious: I dream of the day when a money launderer will be arrested while poring over one of my books.