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Journal cover: Journal of Money Laundering Control

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Accounting and Finance

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International anti-money laundering programs: Empirical assessment and issues in criminal regulation

Document Information:
Title:International anti-money laundering programs: Empirical assessment and issues in criminal regulation
Author(s):Marco Arnone, (Centre for Macroeconomics and Finance Research, Milan, Italy), Leonardo Borlini, (Paolo Baffi Centre on Central Banking and Financial Regulation, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy Centre for Macroeconomics and Finance Research, Milan, Italy)
Citation:Marco Arnone, Leonardo Borlini, (2010) "International anti-money laundering programs: Empirical assessment and issues in criminal regulation", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 13 Iss: 3, pp.226 - 271
Keywords:Crimes, Money laundering, Regulation
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13685201011057136 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This paper updates and draws on the authors' contribution “Empirical assessment and international criminal aspects of anti-money laundering law”, in A. Sabitha (ed.), Money Laundering: Criminal Responsibility, ICFAI University Press, Hyderabad, India, 2009. The authors thank Donato Masciandaro, Roger O'Keefe, Giorgio Sacerdoti for discussions and suggestions. For this paper Leonardo Borlini benefited from a period of permanence at the University of Cambridge (UK). Marco Arnone is grateful to Josephine Fontana and Tony Turner for the exceptional research environment in both Sarasota, Florida and Washington, District of Columbia. Responsibility for the views expressed are the authors' alone.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an empirical assessment and outline issues in criminal regulation relating to international anti-money laundering (AML) programs.

Design/methodology/approach – In the first part, this paper outlines the serious threats posed by transnational laundering operations in the context of economic globalization, and calls for highly co-ordinated international responses to such a crime. The second part of the paper centres on elements of international criminal regulation of ML.

Findings – The focus is on the phenomenological aspect of ML and highlights that to a large extent it is an economic issue. Economic analysis calls for an accurate legal response, with typical trade-offs: it should deter criminals from laundering by increasing the costs for such illicit operations, calling for enhanced regulatory and enforcement activities; however, stronger enforcement yields increased costs and reduces privacy. These features have lately inspired the recent paradigm shift from a rule-based regulatory framework to a risk-based approach which still represents an extremely delicate regulatory. Both at the international level and within the single domestic legal system, AML law is typically characterised by a multidisciplinary approach combining the repressive profile with preventive mechanisms: an empirical evaluation of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank AML program is presented, where these two aspects are assessed. The non-criminal measures recently implemented under the auspices of the main inter-governmental public organisations with competence in these fields seem to be consistent with the insights of economic analysis. However, some key criminal issues need to be better addressed.

Originality/value – The paper offers insights into international AML programs, focusing on criminal regulation.

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