Corruption and money laundering (ML) – the act of disguising the origin of illegal and corrupt proceeds – undermine the basic rule of law, weaken democratic institutions and damage economies and societies. In 2013 alone, developing countries lost an estimated US$ 1.1 trillion to Illicit Financial Flows – illegal movements of money from one country to another. Effective anti-money laundering measures, in both developed and developing countries, are essential to end these illicit flows.
Experience in recent years has time and again shown that the financial sector cannot be relied upon to police itself when it comes to dirty money in the system, requiring strong consistent and effective anti-money laundering (AML) supervision by authorities. Just like health and safety inspectors in restaurants, national financial supervisors have the power to visit and inspect banks (on-site monitoring), identify and record failings in their systems, and impose sanctions where necessary. Prosecutors also have the power to investigate and prosecute money laundering cases, including requesting information across borders, and judges have the power to sanction individuals and corporate entities found guilty of crimes.