Money Laundering: Can You Really Abolish This Crime?
TAGS: crimeeconomyjustice systemmoney launderingunited kingdomunited states

Today we are dealing with the question, ‘how to get rid of money laundering’ or should we say most of it anyways. I mean the crime based on material gain.

So let’s start with the basics, what is material gain?

Material Gain

Material Gain is the obtaining of material, such as; money, gold property, inheritances, possession and pretty much anything else along those lines. The list is endless to make things simple, anything to do with materialistic items such as money, I will refer to it as “something.” 

Why Do People Commit Crimes?

For the sake of “something,” people commit crimes. Some crimes are violent, like mansalughter and murders, but some are just morally wrong like sexual assault, blackmailing and cheating. The list goes on and you can probably think of more disturbing things, if you do then please let me know and what you think of it.

But due to the reasons above, criminal offences occur. Anger; hate, love, jealousy, pity, humour and for some just going as far as pleasure will be the reason why people to commit such acts. 

Some decades ago, American forensics came up with a very simple and surprising idea. if the trafficking in drugs cannot be prevented through law enforcement, there might be some other way of preventing it. Below are some of the methods they have undertaken to mitigate drug trafficking.

Reduce Demands:

The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), along with similar organisations reinforced their activities to help all governments in the region expand drug prevention and substance abuse treatment.

Strengthen targeted sanctions on traffickers

Regional governments increase the use of sanctions on public and private individuals involved in illicit activities. They expanded the discretion of Chiefs of Mission to suspend non-immigrant visas for those individuals and their families. It was often found that people came into the country to continue and expand their drug trafficking network.

So with what has been said above, why can’t a similar principle be established for less mass incarceration and a more restorative justice system to be created?

The Criminal Justice System

The Criminal Justice System can be defined as a complex system which is a major part of our society. Most of us take this into account and recognise the important role it plays in our lives. The individuals responsible for enforcing that rule of law are the dedicated members of that system.

However, you can say that this system is now a flawed method. Rather than being afraid of the prison system and the justice system, people no longer care and have gone to extreme levels. 

States in America, for example, have death penalties to enforce fear into convicts, yet this is still not enough to deter some people. Look at the prison populations per 100,000 people, it is still increasing significantly.

Take the United Kingdom (UK) for example. This system we speak of can be split up into 3 parts: Law Enforcement, Courts and Corrections.

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement is the investigation of crimes being undertaken by the “Law Enforcement Officers.” They gather evidence, take reports on various crimes and if needed, they are given the privilege to arrest offenders, give testimony in court, and continue investigating even after making an arrest. 

However, there is an issue in this case and it can be related to even the tragic recent events when Police officers use too much force and aggression simply due to an overreaction. Some officers do not know how to act in certain situations and this is what causes many issues within the police force, especially in the United States of America.

A newspaper article written by the Guardian states that authorities with a higher level education and training are significantly less likely to use force during a citizen encounter: “The answer to police violence is not ‘reform’. It’s defunding.”

The law enforcement agencies, national police and the police services out there are not doing enough to consider the difference. They cannot solve the problem when at times they can be the problem. 

Courts

A court is a place, an institution if you like, where the authority, which includes the judges, settles legal disputes between parties who carry out administration in social justice as well as in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the law.

The whole point of courts is to make sure the rule of law is followed. Along with judges, juries hear evidence presented by attorneys, as well as lawyers and solicitors etc, who argue for the guilt or innocence of the accused. Judges have the rights to accept or reject plea agreements, oversee trials, and sentence offenders convicted of a crime. 

This all sounds good however, there are times where the court favours one party over the other party. Due to this and many other situations, such as the fame of the person or their profession, the system can essentially be rendered as a flaw in the legal system. There are times where even some courts simply don’t understand the matter and make a legal decision with no or little context of the situation.

An example of the flaw within the court system: Money Laundering Convictions

Money laundering is a term used to describe the process of selling items which have been obtained illegally. An example of this would be selling stolen goods which are known as “substitute stolen goods”: 

Money Laundry Explained

Anything that is sold (that has been obtained illegally) or exchanged for items results in criminal offences. If you steal 500 euros and your girlfriend or wife buys a ring from it, she shouldn’t be prosecuted. You shouldn’t be liable for prosecution for stolen goods, because the ring and banknotes are different things and she didn’t know anything about it. 

However, money laundering is a punishable offence and she’d be accounted as engaging in “substitute stealing” asher ring “comes from” a criminal act. Is this really justice? If you were sent to prison for this you would have more of the feeling to abolish prisons as you are kept in there for something you didn’t know. One can easily imagine the negative impact that would happen to you.

Another Example: The Drug Market

It is found that in Europe, the drug market alone generates at least 31 billion euros every year, and whenever there are drugs involved, some sort of crime is always around the corner. 

Robbery, gangs, thefts, serious tax evasion, trafficking and Smuggling, the list is practically endless. 

So what can we do to mitigate these crimes? Reduce Demands? Strengthen Sanctions on Trafficking? Not much really and this just takes us back to the beginning of the whole problem and the initial question. 

There is a loophole where people commit to committing money laundry and that follows other crimes. 

The reason for some people breaking more laws is due to the fact that the social justice system and society get in their way not being able to provide for the basic necessities all people should have. 

People get taken to prison due to this. But let’s ask ourselves this question. Is Prison Reform an actual thing now? Does it apply to us in this new era?

Effectively at this moment in time, the world is a mess and not even the police can solve this. But why is no one talking about the prison, the social justice system and those who commit money laundering to then go to a border who can clearly pay to just get across the border under asylum or refuge but still be rejected?

We’ve established in theory why people commit money laundry. But who are these people? What do we really mean by the  “fight against money laundering” which has often been described as dramatic? 

Money Laundry affects all. But as people, we have a habit of narrowing it down to some people such as Italian godfathers, Russian oligarchs, Colombian drug lords or Pakistani terrorists. But really, money laundering is everywhere and there is at least one person from every country who does it unfortunately. 

The money gained from money laundry is classified as contaminated money and it is everywhere. Every corner you look at, some sort of money laundry activity has taken place and is very likely to poison your wallet, your salary and your savings. 

The concept of the “Great struggle against money laundering” can really be pinpointed on everyday money transactions. So back to the original question, is abolishing money laundry really possible? Coincidently, it means having to send everyone to prison for knowing doing it or by unknowingly contributing towards it.

The Concept Behind Money Laundry

The concept of money laundering prosecution goes like this: if you prohibit the act and punish all activities, we are effectively all criminals. We are then unable to spend, pass on or invest for our wellbeings or the future. This means our economy would fail significantly as our money collectively would have been obtained this way. 

Anyone who accepts money, wages or even payslips would then be known as a criminal is liable to prosecution. This goes from first in the line hospital staff all the way to, office works, lawyers and bankers.

But if no one deals with money laundering, it inevitably follows that the crime is no longer worthwhile. If you take this into account, then money laundering would be no more.

So let’s say a century later, criminal stolen goods are not led to theft and fraud being gone. What would happen then? Would people still be living the same way or would they commit what used to be a crime in history? 

Can Money Laundering Really Be Abolished Then?

People would still live the same and not much would happen apart from there being easier access to gaining material and an easier way of life if money laundry continued to remain and was not really dealt with. Donations to charities would be very less, in fact, it wouldn’t even exist as people would then have more than enough money to live a satisfactory out of this world lifestyle. But at this moment in time, this is unlikely to happen. 

From 2018 to 2019, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) received almost 480,000 suspicious transaction reports. That is due to the fact that regulations of the Money Laundering Act (GWG), the Banking Act (KWG) and numerous other regulations have constantly been changed, expanded, redrafted or even withdrawn. 

For example, the federal government’s response to a small inquiry about the Bundestag printed matter 19/3818 from August 15, 2018. There is no mentioning of the disappearance of property crime or even small parts of it. The fact that was many billions of euros claimed in unjustified tax refunds were collected in the Cum-Ex business models has taken place for more than a decade without any significant disruption from the “fight against money laundering.”

What to Expect:

The EU Money Laundering Directive is currently being implemented from October 23, 2018, all the way to December 3, 2020. Shortly before the deadline, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) presented a “Law to improve the criminal law combating money laundering”. 

In its jurisdiction, it states that “Section 261 of the Criminal Code already largely corresponds to the requirements of the directive. However, the fight… is to be further improved” (part 1). 

What to take from this is that the plan is that they are to completely revise Section 261 of the Criminal Code. Essentially, they’d delete the entire catalogue of predicate offences and add an extended money laundering to all. In other words the different types of money laundering.

Criminal offences would have no contrast, even petty offences such as stealing a chair, a type of simple theft, petty fraud or even some sort of simple tax evasion would be used as an excuse to identify as money laundering in the future. This goes back to my original point that the whole national economy would be “contaminated.”

The concept behind is that every transaction of such assets that are registered would be extensively checked. In order for this to happen, some effective measures would be introduced such as heavy abolition of cash payments.

That can be dismissed with a simple sentence that if you would have nothing to hide, you would have nothing to fear. 

How things will continue remains to be seen, the draft bill that was discussed before will still be in action for a while which then a government bill could potentially be in action to follow up the draft bill.

At this point in time, it seems like the intention of the higher-ups is to turn society into a battlefield for fighting, arguing and disputing to cover it up for the purpose of abolishing crime.