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Financial Action Task Force publishes report on professional money launderers

The Financial Task Force (FATF) has recently published a report that looks at the techniques and tools used by professional money launders (PMLs). This is the first time the FATF has undertaken a project which concentrates on PMLs that specialise in enabling criminals to evade anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing safeguards and sanctions in order to enjoy the profits from illegal activities.

The report aims to assist authorities to target PMLs as well as the structures that they utilise to launder funds and to disrupt and dismantle the groups involved in this illegal activity so that crime does not pay.

The FATF’s assessments revealed that many countries are not sufficiently investigating and prosecuting complex and third party money laundering and this report aims to:

  • raise awareness of the key characteristics of a PML;
  • understand the roles and functions of those within the professional money laundering organisation;
  • identify the professional money laundering network of associates;
  • identify professional money laundering networks contacts that work together to facilitate the illegal activity; and
  • develop practical recommendations for the detection, investigation, prosecution and prevention of PML.

FATF use case studies to identify a range of different money laundering organisations and networks, from money transport and cash controller networks to proxy networks. The report also provides an insight into the various money laundering tools and techniques that are used by PMLs such as trade-based money laundering, account management mechanisms and underground banking and alternative banking platforms.

PMLs are known to create an illusion of legitimacy to their activities. PMLs may work with corrupt individuals who specialise in providing otherwise legitimate services such bankers, lawyers, and accountants in addition to their criminal money laundering activities. PMLs often work for more than one criminal or criminal organisation and a successful prosecution of a PML can therefore potentially impact the activity of a number of criminal clients.

FATF’s report highlights how important it is to not only for countries to address in-house or self-laundering activities such as laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking, fraud and tax evasion but the importance of addressing and effectively dismantling those who specialise in providing criminals with money laundering services and PML networks.

To read the full report click on the link below:


© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 226



About this Author


Chris Webber specializes in resolving financial services disputes and regulatory investigations. He represents clients including banks, broker dealers, corporate trustees, bondholders, issuers, mortgage servicers, borrowers, insolvency office-holders, regulatory bodies, investment funds, and individuals. He also acts for corporate clients in contractual, investment, and shareholder disputes.

+44 20 7655 1655
Maria Shorter, SquirePB, litigation attorney

Maria Shorter is a solicitor in the Litigation Practice Group which provides legal services to the major banks, receivables financing and asset based lending industry in the UK.

Maria’s particular expertise involves all aspects of debt recovery including debtor and guarantor litigations, issuing civil claims and large debt recovery collections. She also has worked on numerous enforcement proceedings involving instruments such as Charging Orders against property and land; third party debt orders; statutory demands; possession proceedings and seeking Orders for Sale of land; Winding Up Petitions; and Bankruptcy Proceedings.

44 20 7655 1064