Australian Institute of Criminology

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Anti money laundering symposium

Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne
30 September 2002 - 11 October 2002

When we think of money laundering, we often think of street crime; we often think of burglary, robbery or illicit drug activity in which people dispose of assets. However, money laundering is a crime in itself and it has caught the attention of governments worldwide, because there is a large national and international set of activities that involve the disposal and conversion of illegally obtained funds.

What we have, right around the world, are national programs and internationally co-operative programs that are hostile to money laundering. The key issue, of course, is to follow the money trail. People in law enforcement know that if you follow the money trail, you are much more likely to get evidence than any other way. If we go back into history we find notorious criminals like Al Capone. What people often don't realise is that the crime for which he was convicted was that of tax evasion. The evidence was there by following the money trail. The other evidence, unfortunately, he buried, but we always know that following the money always gives you a better chance of conviction.

The other implications of money laundering are only now being addressed in a fairly concerted and co-operative way. Not all money, we know, is necessarily good money: not all money circulating in the economy is good money and regulators right around the world are taking action.

This is because illegally obtained money and illegally disposing of money involves and threatens out tax integrity. It threatens our economic stability and very, very sadly it finances terror, so the Australian Institute of Criminology is presenting a series of symposia on Anti Money Laundering.

In these symposia we focus not on the mechanisms of money laundering but on the Big Picture. We bring together senior people who have this interest and a lot of knowledge and experience in this area and who are keen to come together, and talk in the symposia on global politics, who has done what and why, what it all means and very importantly, on the countermeasures that can be put in place.

The program draws together the strategic issues surrounding money laundering, the international payments system and the renewed need to implement effective anti money laundering strategies, an imperative highlighted by recent acts of terrorism.

Prepared by: Stephen Bond, John Broome, Gary Manger, and Elizabeth Montano