20150730 Beware false prophets – and “experts.”

Thursday, 30 July, 2015 – 00:00

I am constantly amazed by the utter rubbish spouted by so many so called experts in the field of counter-money laundering, including many who proudly add various letters after their names.

The false information they spread fundamentally undermines all efforts to properly educate those upon whom the responsibility for detecting money laundering falls. That includes front line staff, new entrants to the field and those in positions of responsibility in all manner of businesses, not only financial institutions.

It undermines the comprehension of judges, of prosecutors and investigators.

And, ultimately, it leads to actions, criminal, regulatory and civil, against companies who face extraordinarily large fines or penalties in respect of risks that were avoidable – if only their advisers had been competent.

For example, it is incredible that, even a quarter of a century into the counter-money laundering project, we still read “expert” commentary, and see in counter-money laundering training, the false comment that money laundering is turning dirty money into clean money.

It isn’t. It is disguising the origins and / or location and / or destination of assets that represent, in whole or in part, the proceeds of criminal conduct. Once dirty, no amount of laundering makes the assets clean. Moreover, they taint every other asset they form contact with.

The following 5 points are circulating on LinkedIn – and gaining “likes” and “shares” despite being in some way defective or, in some cases, plain wrong.