Jamaica: “shhh…it's secret money”: lawyers, money laundering and terrorist financing

Publication Date01 Jul 2006
AuthorShazeeda Ali
subjectMatterAccounting & finance
Jamaica: “shhh...it’s secret
money”: lawyers, money
laundering and terrorist financing
Shazeeda Ali
Attorney General’s Chambers, Kingston, Jamaica
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight to lawyers the need for concern about the source
or destination of their clients’ wealth, in light of the serious legal implications.
Design/methodology/approach – An analysis of the Jamaican legislation dealing with money
laundering, terrorist financing and forfeiture. Also, an examination of relevant case law.
Findings – The potential liabilility of lawyers for money laundering and terrorist financing was
examined. The investigative tools that may affect lawyers whose clients are being investigated was
reviewed, and the implications of such laws for legal professional privilege.
Originality/value – Much of the emphasis on money laundering and terrorist financing controls is
on the financial services industry. By emphasising the impact of these laws on lawyers, this paper
should be of value to practising lawyers.
Keywords Money laundering,Terrorism, Lawyers, Jamaica
Paper type Research paper
Money laundering is simply the process by which wealth that has an unlawful source
is made to appear to have a legitimate origin, usually through a multitude of financial
transactions. Money laundering is considered “evil” since it allows criminals to spe nd
their illicit wealth without the underlying criminality being detected. The criminal can
therefore enjoy the fruits of his illicit labour whilst having the means to perpetuate
further crime, for example, through the purchase of drugs or bribing key personnel.
The proceeds of money-laundering can also be used to fund terrorist activity.
Terrorist financing involves the provision of funds to terrorists or terrorist
organisations for the commission of terrorist acts. Terrorist financing provides the
means to acquire power through force, often through acts of atrocity, since it enables
terrorists to buy weapons, communication systems and to conduct training, However,
unlike money laundering, in many cases terrorist funding emanates from a legitimate
source, such as a charity.
The essential difference is that in money laundering the principal issue is the source
of the wealth, whilst the main concern with terrorist financing is the destination of such
The devices used to launder money or finance terrorism are essentially limitless
and, indeed, the same vehicles used to launder money can also be employed for the
secret financing of terrorist activity. Counter-measures must therefore be targeted at
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
This paper is based on a paper presented at a Jamaica Bar Association, Continuing Legal
Education seminar, in Kingston, Jamaica on April 30, 2005.
Journal of Money Laundering Control
Vol. 9 No. 3, 2006
pp. 272-280
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/13685200610681797

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