Abstract

All over the world, a growth in international criminal activity has occurred. The criminal groups involved respect no national borders or boundaries; they move their money, power, and corruption from place to place, depending on where they perceive the greatest rewards lie or where the weakest deterrents in the economic or law enforcement systems exist. One of the principal goals of these groups is to legitimize and return their illicit proceeds to the world’s financial system—in other words, to launder their criminal gains. To achieve this objective, the groups have often sought to conceal their activities through the protection afforded by the doctrines of banking secrecy. This tactic, in turn, has necessitated responses from the responsible supervisory agencies and the law enforcement authorities that result in departures from these doctrines.