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Anti-Money Laundering Movement Strong & Steady in EU

April 14, 2009

Global Witness, an NGO wisely realizing that money is what drives many of the atrocities in Africa, recently published its report: Undue Dilligence (it can be downloaded on the link).  Not the type of NGO that worries about stepping on toes, it actually provides the names of banks doing business with corrupt regimes.  On the one hand, it would seem that it’s not the banks’ responsibility to ensure the actual practice and implementation of the web of ethics comprising a regime; however, anti money-laundering laws shift the burden to banks and businesses engaging with high risk governments and businesses to verify the source of any monies transacted.

At the same time, the UK Treasury issued the following warning to UK (and essentially, by extension, EU firms) doing business with countries deemed to not have adequate money laundering safeguards in place.  That means, law abiding businessmen have a legal obligation to outsmart some very intelligent criminals in verifying funds used to transact business.  Meanwhile, be careful to avoid all the politics involved, for where there’s money, there’s power, and where there’s power, there’s politics, and where there’s politics, there are indictments.

None of this is an easy task for a regular businessman trying to make a living and support a family in hard times.  Just ask the preeminent Ben Keuhne (albeit his case was on a smaller scale, but it demonstrates impeccable ethics and a reputation beyond reproach won’t necessarily be considered when the government uses 20/20 hindsight to second-guess decisions made).  As money is tighter for everyone, the laws are shifting law enforcement costs to the local businessman who is struggling to survive.

These were important topics scheduled for discussion at the G20, so expect more to follow as I get caught up.

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