There is a comforting story to be told about the prevalence of crime in the global economy. Since the end of the Cold War, the story goes, the world’s leading nations and most influential economic institutions have mounted an increasingly aggressive campaign to rid the international financial system of dirty money—that is, funds acquired by, or used for, prohibited activities such as drug trafficking, terrorism, bribery, and, under some definitions, tax evasion. Such illicit financial flows and the crimes that enable them (like money laundering) will never be eliminated entirely, we are told, but it is now easier than ever to detect and disrupt them. Thanks to the sustained efforts of policymakers and transparency advocates, the world’s financial criminals are being pushed further and further out of the economic centers where they once thrived.
The above excerpt was originally published in Offshore Initiative.
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