I am in the throes of preparing both a presentation that I am giving in Luxembourg next month (you can read all about it here), and my latest workshop for experienced MLROs (Gala Premiere in Guernsey in June). Both require a huge amount of research, and the time has come for me to thank my lucky stars for, well, Google of course (are any of you old enough to remember having to go to libraries and professional institutes in person to look up laws and regulations? I tell you, it took hours and was jolly expensive in train fares and sustaining chocolate-based snacks) – but also for the large law, accountancy and consultancy firms that so generously publish such useful research, information, explanations, translations and links.
For instance, Luxembourgish legislation is in French. Now, my French is not bad for the true essentials – I can order a pain au chocolat with almost native panache and élan – but I don’t trust it for legal documents. I might miss a crucial “ne” here or there. But thankfully several Luxembourg law firms and local branches of big consultancies have very kindly (a) translated the legislation into English, and (b) published very handy summaries and explanations of the main points and implications. Of course, I make sure to consult more than one, to get a general consensus rather than one opinion, and only from reputable firms, but what a useful resource – and all freely available to a little scavenger like me.
As for the workshop prep, one of my goals is to update “my” lovely MLROs on recent AML-ish developments of all stripes. And I am aided tremendously in this by the large consultancies who seem addicted to doing surveys of all sorts of AML-ish things – the incidence of white collar crime, attitudes to corruption, the priorities of Boards when it comes to corporate governance, and so on. I simply download a report that has taken them months to prepare, search for the word “laundering”, and find endless handy discussion points.
Although it all sounds a bit one-way – after all, the chances of my ever contributing to the coffers of a Luxembourg law firm or a huge management consultancy are pretty slim – I suppose I do put something back into the pot of general AML knowledge. After all, I can’t tell who’s reading this blog, and what they use the information and ideas in it for. I write my monthly piece for the Money Laundering Bulletin, and feel oddly certain that not everyone who reads those is a subscriber. Let’s hope it’s annoying the criminals something chronic, all this happy sharing of AML-ness.