People tell me that they are often looking for quotations to do with money laundering – to illustrate a presentation, or make a point during training, or spell out in sky-writing while proposing to a girlfriend (OK, I may have made that one up).  Anyway, I have been collecting these for a while, and will list them on this page.  Please feel free to use them as you wish, although for legal reasons it is probably smart to attribute them and not pretend that you thought of them all by your ickle self.  (And if you’re planning that sky-writing, please let me know when and where so that I can enjoy it too.)

If you have something that you would like to contribute, please fill in the form at the end with your quotation and who said it (and, if relevant, when and where).  Please also say if you would like to be identified as the source – don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder here.

So here we go:


“There is not a hot money passer in America who will ‘wash’ this money exchanging it for ‘cool’ currency – unless it is offered him at such a tremendous discount that he can afford to hold it for years, if necessary, before attempting to pass it.”
The San Francisco “Cal-Bulletin” of 3 June 1935

“Suitcases stuffed with 200,000 dollars of Republican campaign funds; money being ‘laundered’ in Mexico.”
The London “Guardian” newspaper of 19 April 1973 – the first recorded use of the term in the sense we now know and love, although the idea of washing money is much older…

“Money laundering is a very sophisticated crime and we must be equally sophisticated.”
Janet Reno, while serving as Attorney General of the United States from 1993 to 2001

“I can assure you that Mr Simpson doesn’t have enough cash in his pocket or in his bank account to ever be involved in any type of money laundering.”
Yale Galanter, OJ Simpson’s lawyer

“The clampdown on money laundering and corruption is the common responsibility of all the countries in the world.”
Wang Zhaowen, spokesman for the Bank of China

“Attacking the profits of offences such as drug trafficking, money laundering and people smuggling is attacking both the motivation and ability to commit further serious crime.”
Chris Ellison, while Australian Minister of Justice and Customs from 2001 to 2007

“I can’t believe what a bunch of nerds we are: we’re looking up ‘money laundering’ in the dictionary.”
The character Peter Gibbons in the movie “Office Space”

“We have never heard of laundering in Macau; money laundering is unheard of.”
Macau “casino king” Stanley Ho being interviewed on TalkAsia Radio on 2 October 2004

“Former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been sentenced to three years in prison: one year for money laundering and two more for his performance on ‘Dancing with the Stars’.”
American comedian Jay Leno on his late-night television chat show on 12 January 2011

“Money laundering is giving oxygen to organised crime.”
Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, in June 2012

“The only way to stop the flow of this dirty money is to get tough on the bankers who help mask and transfer it around the world.  Banks themselves don’t launder money, after all: people do.”
Robert Mazur, former federal agent who worked as an undercover money launderer, speaking in January 2013 after the HSBC fine

“To be honest, our geographic footprint became very attractive to trans-national criminal organisations, whether they are terrorist in origin or criminal in origin.”
Stuart Gulliver, Chief Executive of HSBC, at the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards on 6 February 2013

“Dirty money has no place in our economy, whether it comes from drug deals, the illegal guns trade or trafficking in human beings.  We must make sure that organised crime cannot launder its funds through the banking system or the gambling sector.  Our banks should never function as laundromats for mafia money, or enable the funding of terrorists.”
Cecilia Malmström, EU Home Affairs Commissioner, speaking about the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive on 6 February 2013

“Drug traffickers benefit from the paramilitary skills, the access to weapons and links to other clandestine groups that terrorists can provide.  Terrorists, for their part, gain a source of revenue and expertise in money laundering from drug traffickers.”
John Ashcroft, attorney and politician, and US Attorney General from 2001 to 2005

“The solicitor’s role as a gatekeeper in preventing money laundering is not limited to carrying out formal identity checks.  It is of much greater importance that members of the legal profession act with honesty and integrity when implementing the statutory obligations imposed upon them by the proceeds of crime legislation… By allowing your bank account to be used to receive and disburse monies on behalf of Michael Voudouri and his companies, you facilitated the re-entry of proceeds of crime into the financial system.”
Lord Tyre, Judge at the High Court in Edinburgh, speaking at the trial of solicitor Richard Housley on 6 March 2013

“The city of London, together with Wall Street, is the world’s biggest ‘launderette’ of drug trafficking’s dirty money.  It’s in British banks, or in British branches or foreign banks, that criminal money gets laundered.  And banks, in turn, are profiting by moving around and investing these huge amounts of liquid assets…  All banks need to do is to lower their monitoring standards, their anti-laundering standards, and the job is done.”
Journalist Robert Saviano speaking at the UK House of Commons on 26 May 2016

“Living in London, you feel the sense of how it has developed into a service city.  People come here from around the world to launder both their money and their reputation.”
James Watkins, English film director and screenwriter

“Money laundering is not a crime.  Just because certain men with guns don’t like what other people are doing with their own money, they decide it’s OK to lock those people in a cage.”
Roger Ver (aka “Bitcoin Jesus”), evangelical Bitcoin investor, speaking in August 2018 after being charged with money laundering