Money Laundering
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Money Laundering

Definition of Money Laundering

Money laundering refers to a criminal process in which individuals or entities conceal the origins of illegally obtained funds by making them appear to be derived from legitimate sources.

It involves a series of transactions and financial maneuvers aimed at disguising the illicit origins of money, making it difficult for authorities to trace the funds back to their criminal origins. 

Money laundering allows criminals to integrate illegal profits into the legitimate financial system, enabling them to use the funds for legal transactions without raising suspicion.

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the illicit process of "cleaning" tainted money obtained through illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, corruption, tax evasion, fraud, or organized crime.

The purpose is to present the illegally obtained funds as legitimate income or assets, effectively "laundering" the money's criminal history.

Money laundering typically involves a three-stage process: placement (introducing illicit funds into the financial system), layering (disguising the funds through a series of complex transactions), and integration (using the laundered funds for legal purposes).

This process helps criminals evade law enforcement and use the proceeds without attracting suspicion.

What are examples of Money Laundering?

Money laundering can take various forms, and some common examples include:


Depositing cash amounts below the reporting threshold to avoid detection.

Trade-Based Laundering

Manipulating trade transactions to over or under-invoice goods to move money illicitly across borders.

Shell Companies

Creating fake companies to appear as legitimate businesses and funneling illicit funds through them.
Real Estate Transactions: Using real estate purchases and sales to hide the origin of illegal funds.


Breaking down large sums of cash into smaller, less suspicious amounts and depositing them into different accounts.

Virtual Currencies

Utilizing cryptocurrencies to obscure the trail of money and facilitate cross-border transfers with anonymity.

Offshore Accounts

Storing funds in countries with strict bank secrecy laws to hide ownership and sources of income.

Money laundering is a serious financial crime with significant social, economic, and security implications. Governments and financial institutions worldwide implement strict anti-money laundering measures to combat this illicit activity and protect the integrity of the financial system.


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