By Julia Layton
In October 2005, U.S. congressman Tom DeLay was indicted on money laundering charges, forcing him to step down as House Majority Leader. Money laundering is a serious charge — in 2001, U.S. prosecutors obtained almost 900 money-laundering convictions with an average prison sentence of six years. The rise of global financial markets makes money laundering easier than ever — countries with bank-secrecy laws are directly connected to countries with bank-reporting laws, making it possible to anonymously deposit “dirty” money in one country and then have it transferred to any other country for use.
Money laundering happens in almost every country in the world, and a single scheme typically involves transferring money through several countries in order to obscure its origins. In this article, we’ll learn exactly what money laundering is and why it’s necessary, who launders money and how they do it and what steps the authorities are taking to try to foil money-laundering operations. Continue reading