As regular readers will know, I have been working in AML for several hundred years. I wish I could claim oracular levels of prescience in my selection of career, but the truth is that I chose to devote myself to AML because (a) it’s fascinating, and (b) it’s really, really wrong that criminals profit from crime. But fate has smiled on me, and money laundering is now more popular (you know what I mean) than ever.
In fact, I would go even further: I think money laundering is currently in fashion. We’ve had stiff competition from bribery and corruption, and sanctions came into favour for a little while (rather like flowery wellies during festival season), but it seems that money laundering is still the hot ticket. We can tell this from how often – and where – it appears in headlines. Last week, for instance, this story appeared on the BBC. It concerned former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who was charged with “making false and dishonest submissions for travelling expenses and transferring the proceeds of fraud through a bank account”. The sub-editors had an embarrassment of riches: UKIP, expulsion from UKIP, political snout in the trough, etc. But what was the headline they devised? “Ex-MEP Nikki Sinclaire charged with money laundering and misconduct”. Even more interesting, the article does not go on to define or explain money laundering – the assumption is that everyone (or at least, everyone who reads the BBC website) knows what it is. MLROs, we’ve gone mainstream – we’re a wardrobe staple: we’re the the crisp, white, tailored shirt of crimes.