4: The obsession with defining money laundering

This chapter explains how money laundering is a buffet, not table d’hôte. A money launderer chooses what will work for them and their activities, rather than following a neatly defined money laundering typology. It is these same typologies which are being repeated that are leading to a distortion of understanding confined by shallow analysis and blue-sky thinking. Building upon the three-stage process of money laundering, the chapter explores the problems caused by ‘red flags’ for identifying and preventing money laundering. The chapter concludes by suggesting money laundering is a series of transfers and purchases that need to be identified if money laundering is to be understood.

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