Reexamining the anti-money-laundering framework: a legal critique and new approach to combating money laundering

Published date24 March 2022
Date24 March 2022
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorPaul Michael Gilmour
Reexamining the anti-money-
laundering framework: a legal
critique and new approach to
combating money laundering
Paul Michael Gilmour
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Criminology and
Criminal Justice, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Purpose Money laundering poses signicant challenges for policymakers and law-enforcement
authorities. The money-laundering phenomenon is often acknowledged as a type of serious and organised
crimeyet has traditionally been describedas a complicated three-stage process, involving the placement,
layering and integrationofcriminal proceeds. This article aims to reexamine the money-launderingconcept
within the realm of organisedcrime and critique its legal underpinnings.
Design/methodology/approach This paper exploreshow criminal actors collude in organised money-
laundering schemes to circumventlaws and frustrate the efforts of ofcials, while advancing the regulatory-
spatial paradigms of whichorganised money launderers operate. In doing so, it reframes the debate towards
the whoandwhereof money laundering.
Findings This paper argues that authoritiesefforts to combat money laundering relies on rigid legal
denitionsand awed ideals that fail to address the money-laundering problem.
Originality/value There has been little scholarly debate that questions the fundamental approach to
conceptualisingmoney laundering. This paper proposesa new approach to combating money launderingthat
better incorporatesthe actors involved in money launderingand the spaces in which it occurs.
Keywords Money laundering, Organised crime, Three-stage model, AML
Paper type Conceptual paper
Money laundering is synonymous with the term organised crime. Indeed, many global anti-
money-laundering (AML) authorities acknowledge money laundering as a type of serious and
organised crime(Levi and Soudijn, 2020). Organised crime is a consequence of a public
demand for illicit goods and services, while the motives of organised criminals will often
require proting from crime (Lord et al., 2018). Similarly, the purpose of money laundering
involves ensuring the criminal prots appear to have come from a legitimate source and
reinvesting those prots to further criminal enterprise (Albanese, 2021, p. 341). Money
launderers will be more prosperous if their activities are well planned and coordinated with
other like-minded individuals. They will also benet through an ability to control nancial
markets, to exploit loopholes in legal frameworks and circumvent rules governing money
laundering. Their desire will always be to avoid the detection of law-enforcement authorities.
Funding: The author received no nancial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of
this article.
Declaration of conicting interests: The author has declared no conicting interests.
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.30 No. 1, 2023
pp. 35-47
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-02-2022-0041
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