You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1400 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.

Books: Research

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The FATF has clearly set the rules, meaning various nations, businesses and agencies are expected to follow anti-money laundering efforts if they want to appear effective. Yet, as this chapter explains, the cat and mouse game occurring worldwide between supervisors, or regulatory authorities (the cats) and the reporting entities (the mice) is fraught with many challenges at many levels. Challenges associated with supervisory oversight, effectiveness and integrity can all influence how compliance is reviewed. Add in international and regional regulatory authorities and the scope for abuse of power and political influence can increase dramatically.

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The global AML regime does not work, costs a fortune, lacks any performance measures, and has lost its clear anti-crime philosophy. The focus on compliance to regulations lacks a moral purpose and a clear direction. Yet there are clear successes to build on. The FATF has created a global and national institutional framework. Tried and tested laws exist and there is genuine expertise everywhere, plus a willing army of skilled staff. The regime lacks leadership and an underpinning philosophy. Consequently, the resources are very badly placed. The authors suggest a return to basic principles and a focus on international illicit money flows, not national shortcomings.

Specific institutions are identified as best placed to put the regime back on track.

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Much of global dirty money comes from corruption. The authors explain that corruption has no agreed definition or meaningful statistics. To try to make sense of corruption, policy makers have split grand corruption from petty corruption; in much the same way that policy makers have split money laundering from its predicate crimes. This artificial division has created similar debilitating confusion for practitioners.

The authors suggest that between grand corruption and petty corruption lies police corruption because this is a crucial enabler of both. The normalisation of police corruption allows the corrupt to keep their dirty money.

Many developing countries have Anti-Corruption Commissions modelled on the atypical jurisdictions of Hong Kong and Singapore. These have been set up over the last 20 years using donated money and skills from wealthy countries.

International bribery is a major source of dirty money. Although this can be investigated, there is no international infrastructure to prosecute or recover the money.

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The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York sent countering terrorist finance (CFT) to the top of the global agenda. The task of implementation was given to the anti-money laundering (AML) agencies as the FATF had built a global network of Financial Intelligence Units. Although that attack was financed, most terrorist attacks are inexpensive and tracking the money before it is used for terrorism is a significant challenge.

The authors discuss the unhappy marriage of AML and CFT and explore the technical contrasts between the two phenomena. They conclude that the marriage is acceptable because the war on terror raises the level of political will for AML.

The temporary nature of United Nations sanctions as a weapon against dirty money is explored and its long-term efficacy questioned.

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This chapter questions whether Financial Intelligence Units are the biggest black hole of all black holes in the fight against dirty money. FIUs hold a tremendous amount of data and questions are asked as to whether the increasing amount of data is becoming problematic and whether we are still unsure as to what an FIU is. The chapter reviews how the data held by FIUs is rarely shared with those who need it and how the location of an FIU can influence the progress being made to prevent, detect and prosecute money laundering offences.

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The most cynical person in a room would say that what now exists is a ‘prevention by fingers crossed’ approach to money laundering. This chapter explores this idea and finds it is now extremely difficult to prevent money laundering based on old fashioned ideas and perspectives. If we are to prevent money laundering, we must put aside our beliefs and find the truth behind the transfers and purchases which make up money laundering. No longer is it viable to believe AML compliance can be the main line of defence in preventing money laundering.

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In this chapter we outline what our proposed solutions in each chapter would create. By identifying a future potential landscape, we look to outline how, with better clarity, leadership and research, AML efforts would have a stronger, more applicable lead on the ‘war on dirty money’.

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The chapter begins with the war between good and evil. The ‘love of money as the root of all evil’ explains a world awash with dirty money from countless crimes. A global anti-money laundering (AML) regime is failing to prevent this evil, but the authors suggest realistic reforms which are explored in subsequent chapters, which are summarised, and their order explained.

A short history of the AML regime and the role of law enforcement in tackling money laundering is critiqued. The possibility that the regime was hobbled from the outset by short-term parochial interests is discussed.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is applauded for establishing a global infrastructure but the concept of preventing money laundering through compliance with recommendations is questioned. The FATF New Methodology is welcomed but the authors question whether technical compliance equates to real prevention and whether the enforcement regime really reduces crime.

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In this chapter, watchlists are discussed. The formidable FATF grey list and black list are explored alongside other less critical watchlists. But are these watchlists based on true AML/CFT performance or are they a sharp political stick in which only some countries will feel the pain? Do they have horrible consequences which are seemingly ignored? Watchlist absenteeism is discussed alongside the idea that the Western-based ideology and rules-based system are clearly not transposable onto every country – hence why some countries will always teeter on the edge of such watchlists no matter how good they are.

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This chapter underscores the reasons why we know so little about money laundering. After several decades of ‘doing something’ to stop money laundering, what we have chosen to read, listen to and ultimately believe is no longer true about the problem. The commonly publicised three-stage process of money laundering is looked at before concluding that it is neither helpful nor is it now true. The chapter also questions the relevance of experts in the AML field. Are they really experts in money laundering or simply storytellers and compliance tick-box managers made to confuse the confused?

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