Cash and property are the two extremes of money laundering, very often cash being at the placement stage and property transactions being part of the layering and integration stages of the process. There are many other ‘tools’ available to the money launderer, the following are common examples.
- Monetary instruments such as travellers cheques, postal orders, money orders or bank drafts. The name on these documents once obtained is the name of the financial institution; this can affect bureau de change and money transmitting services.
- Asset purchases – cars, gold, jewellery etc. a money launderer will buy expensive items for cash and then quickly sell them for less only taking a cheque or bankers draft in exchange, high value dealers are specifically at risk here.
- Client accounts – the professional firm becomes unofficial bankers, common method affecting accountants, solicitors and estate agents. It is the professionals name on the transaction not the clients.
- Credit cards, a very common tool. They can be front loaded with value, they can be spent almost anywhere in the world without even leaving your seat, either over the telephone or via internet purchases or transactions. Bureau de change and money transmitters will face risks from these types of transactions.
- Borrowing and finance, people who borrow then pay back with criminal proceeds. People or firms who borrow just to look like everyone else.
- Private banking services – Traditionally $1m entry fee for investment through their services. Traditionally affects ‘high net worth individuals’. Many private banking institutions are not as formally regulated as a high street bank.
- Other banking entities and informal banking systems such as ‘Hawala’ which means trust in Hindi, however the system is often abused.
- Other financial products such as Bureaux de Change, all other types of money services businesses, trusts, investment and securities houses and commodity brokers are all used to move amounts of money often crossing jurisdictions.
- Nominee Services – Such as Registered office facilities, mail box and virtual office services, nominee directors and shareholders etc. all help aid anonymity and are widely available in most jurisdictions including the UK.