A committed bachelor

My husband gave me several Christmas presents, many of them chocolate-themed (I’ve trained him well), but perhaps the best one was “Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer” – a compilation of obituaries from the Telegraph.  I just love reading obituaries: they are so tight and precise, and often both comic and moving.  My favourite begins with this fabulous paragraph: “Chris Dale, who has died aged 49, was a 6ft 6in mountaineer with a passion for solo climbs among the hardest peaks of Scotland, Wales and the Alps.  He was also an equally enthusiastic cross-dresser who went by the name of Crystal.”  See?  Irresistible.

Obituary-writing is a specific journalistic skill, and like all niche professions it has its own shorthand.  You’ve read them all at some time:

  • “a tireless raconteur” = crashing bore
  • “untroubled by the rules of the City” = fraudster
  • “led a Bohemian lifestyle” = lived in a pigsty and rarely washed
  • “always a favourite to play Father Christmas” = very fat
  • “tireless and dedicated worker” = hated his family
  • “good company” = drank a lot
  • “excellent company” = made Jeffrey Barnard look sober

In a similar vein (fnah fnah), doctors have their own slang, so that they can indicate to each other what they really mean without running the risk of being sued by outraged patients.  So the on-call doctor in A&E can warn his colleagues upstairs by writing on the notes that he is sending them a CLL [complete low-life] with a UBI [unexplained beer injury], sustained when PFO [p***ed, fell over], who is now presenting as LOBNH [lights on but no-one home].

It occurs to me that – hamstrung as we are by having to be circumspect to the point of blandness in references and confirmations – we in the AML community could develop our own shorthand.  So we could talk of “exciting parts of the world” [high-risk jurisdictions], “determined leaders” [dictators], “challenging legal structures” [laundering schemes], “not universally welcomed” [sanctioned] and “imaginative explanations” [lies].  More suggestions please!

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5 Responses to A committed bachelor

  1. Claire says:

    Happy to oblige!
    The overseas visitor: the nominee owner coming for his annual visit with the board of directors of a multinational, so the real local owner stays secret and can dodge taxes etc
    Playground: the place where you actually spend your money, obviously not your official home country because you don’t have any money! 😉
    Business trip: visit to tax paradise & tax consultant aka money launderer, preferably with the mistress, never the wife
    Tax income declaration: a well calculated form that justifies the house you own and the car you drive in the country you are fiscal resident
    The Perpetual Traveler (PT, Permanent Tourist, Prior Taxpayer) I mentioned in one of my recent comments: the man who lives nowhere and thus doesn’t have any legal obligations anywhere
    Services rendered: fake invoice for unexisting services rendered, to launder money

  2. Claire, these are outstanding – and worryingly familiar! Many thanks.
    Best wishes from Susan

  3. Julian Lane says:

    Here are a few that I think work also:

    Tax Neutral: We are not evading tax so don’t ask to many probing questions ( alternatively known as Swizterland).

    Complex structure: You will never understand the cash flows but just rate it as high risk and approve the business.

    Crowd financing: The USA welcomes money launders. We can kickstart your business.

    This final offer Susan is quite shockingly open to abuse by moneylaunderers, was staggered by how open to abuse and how money is being raised outside of a regulated environment in the US. Many millions of Dollars appear to be raised without much recourse for the (so called) investor.

  4. Dear Julian

    Excellent contributions – thank you. I am particularly fond of “complex structure” – staff are often intimidated by this one, thinking “it’s none of my business”, when in fact it is exactly their business!

    And I am going to do some reading on crowd financing, which sounds ripe for abuse.

    Best wishes from Susan

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