It’s becoming something of theme, isn’t it – professional enablers? I’ve certainly blogged about it before, as in this post. And just last month the Financial Action Task Force released their own report into the phenomenon, entitled “Professional Money Laundering”. (Although the FATF eschews the term “professional enabler”, preferring to lump them in with full-time launderers: “While professional money launderers may act in a professional capacity (e.g. lawyer, accountant) and serve some legitimate clients, the report aims to identify those actors who serve criminal clients whether on a full-time or part-time basis”.)
I am assuming therefore that we will see more prosecutions of professional enablers, as the public becomes aware that they are “a thing”, and as the prosecutorial agencies become more adept at gathering evidence against them. And I shall look forward to learning more weaselly phrases that such people will employ to justify their actions. As you know, the slippery Paul Manafort (he of the ostrich-leather jacket) is currently on trial for – among other things – tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Various professionals who have had dealings with him have been called to give evidence, including one Cindy Laporta. Once Mr Manafort’s accountant, and now promised immunity in exchange for testifying, Ms Laporta has told the court in Virginia that in 2015 she was pressured by Manafort’s former right-hand man Rick Gates into concocting a US$900,000 loan on Manafort’s tax return because he did not have enough money to pay the full tax bill. Ms Laporta complied. And now, instead of admitting what is plain for all to see – that this was illegal – she tells the court that what she did was “not appropriate – you can’t pick and choose what’s a loan and what’s income [really? colour me surprised – but then I’m not a trained accountant] and I very much regret it”.
So there’s our first handy phrase for the legally challenged professional, ladies and gentlemen: “not appropriate”. How many more will we amass, I wonder?