Money laundering (criminal law) [Fr.: blanchiment d' argent, Gr.: νομιμοποίηση εσόδων από παράνομες δραστηριότητες]  (See also: dirty money, white collar crime, financial crime, terrorism financing, drug trafficking, insider trading) = the process of concealing or disguising the illegal origin of property that has been obtained from criminal activities, so that it appears to have originated from legitimate sources. 

There are three steps in the process of money laundering:

(a) Placement: the act through which the perpetrator acquires the illegitimate property, usually a crime in itself. For example, the proceeds of drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, false accounting practices or even terrorist activities can constitute such property.

(b) Layering: the act of concealing or disguising said property's origin - usually through the use of shell companies and offshore accounts.

(c) Integration: the perpetrator appears to have acquired the property through legitimate means.

It must be noted that the perpetrator of money laundering is not necessarily the perpetrator of the crime from which the property originated.


Useful Links

Legislation - USA Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 [English] - 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances [English] - 1988 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism [English] - 2000 United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime [English] - Canada Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (S.C. 2000, c. 17) [English, French] - Directive 2001/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2001 amending Council Directive 91/308/EEC on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering [English] - UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 [English] - Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, India [English] - 2003 United Nations Convention Against Corruption [English] - 2005 UNODC and IMF Model-Legislation on Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism [English] -Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing [English] - The UK Money Laundering Regulations 2007 [English] - Law no. 3651/2008 [Greek] - 2009 Model Provisions for Common Law Legal Systems on Money-Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Preventive Measures and the Proceeds of Crime [English] - The 2012 FATF Recommendations on Money Laundering [English] - Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union [English]

Case Law;jsessionid=9ea7d0f130d551171500b47245fc8d96a697ab54d7ab.e34KaxiLc3eQc40LaxqMbN4OchmKe0?text=&docid=61675&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=743228 - C-305/05 - Ordre des barreaux francophones and germanophone and Others [2007] I-05305 [English] - Supreme Court of the United States, UNITED STATES v. SANTOS (No. 06-1005) 461 F. 3d 886 [English] - Supreme Court of the United States, REGALADO CUELLAR v. UNITED STATES (No. 06-1456) 478 F. 3d 282 [English]

Organisations and associations - Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS), The US Department of Justice [USA] - The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units  [Canada] - The Financial Action Task Force - The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre [Afghanistan] - IBA Anti-Money Laundering Forum - Interpol - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Online Publications - Fernandez Salas M., 2005, The third anti-money laundering directive and the legal profession, presentation made by the author on 27 May 2005 in Brussels at a conference organised by the European Association of Lawyers [English] - Irimia O. I., 2014, U.S. model of assets recovery. From common law to an international crusade, [English] - Katz E., 2007, Implementation of the Third Money Laundering Directive - an overview, Law and Financial Markets Review Vol. 1 No. 3 [English] - Komárek J., 2008, Case Comment: Legal Professional Privilege and the EU’s Fight against Money Laundering, 27 Civil Justice Quarterly [English] - Vyhnalik J.; Fendekova I., 2005, The Third EU Directive on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, BIATEC, Volume XIII, 9/2005 [English] - United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, 2012, U.S Asset Recovery Tools & Procedures: A Practical Guide for International Cooperation [English]


Gilmore, W. C., 2004, Dirty Money: The Evolution of International Measures to Counter Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. 3rd ed., rev. and expanded. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publications [English]

Muller W. H., 2007, Anti-Money Laundering: International Law and Practice, John Wiley & Sons [English]

Zagaris, Bruce, 2010, International White Collar Crime: Cases and Materials, USA, Cambridge University Press [English]


By Angeliki Tsanta