Recent trends in money laundering

  • Fabian Teichmann


This paper illustrates how criminals currently launder money in Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with 50 money launderers and 50 compliance and prevention experts, whose responses were subjected to qualitative content analysis. Based on the findings therefrom, a quantitative survey of 200 compliance officers was conducted. Together, these two methods revealed the concrete techniques currently used to launder money in Europe. Contrary to popular belief, money laundering is found not to be associated with high costs, and can even generate significant profits. As the findings of the qualitative study are based on semi-standardised interviews, they are limited to the 100 participants’ perspectives. By identifying concrete methods of money laundering, this study’s findings provide compliance officers, law enforcement agencies, and legislators with valuable insights into how criminals act. Whereas prior literature primarily focuses on organisations and mechanisms aimed at fighting money laundering, this article instead describes how criminals avoid detection by analysing the perspectives of prevention experts and the criminals themselves. Acting on this information should enhance the effectiveness of combating and preventing money laundering.



  1. 1.
    Harvey, J. (2004). Compliance and reporting issues arising for financial institutions from money laundering regulations: A preliminary cost benefit study. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 7(4), 333–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Van Duyne, P. C. (1994). Money-laundering: Estimates in fog. Journal of Financial Crime, 2(1), 58–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Walker, J. (1999). How big is global money laundering? Journal of Money Laundering Control, 3(1), 25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schneider, F. (2008). Money laundering and financial means of organised crime: Some preliminary empirical findings. Global Business and Economics Review, 10(3), 309–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Argentiero, A., Bagella, M., & Busato, F. (2008). Money laundering in a two-sector model: Using theory for measurement. European Journal of Law and Economics, 26(3), 341–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Muller, W. H., Kalin, C. H., & Goldsworth, J. G. (Eds.). (2007). Anti-money laundering: International law and practice. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sharman, J. C. (2008). Power and discourse in policy diffusion: Anti-money laundering in developing states. International Studies Quarterly, 52(3), 635–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Van Fossen, A. B. (2003). Money laundering, global financial instability, and tax havens in the Pacific Islands. The Contemporary Pacific, 15(2), 237–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Unger, B., & Busuioc, E. M. (2007). The scale and impacts of money laundering. Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schneider, F. (2010). Turnover of organized crime and money laundering: Some preliminary empirical findings. Public Choice, 144(3–4), 473–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hughes, S. J. (1991). Policing money laundering through funds transfers: A critique of regulation under the bank secrecy act. Indiana Law Journal, 67, 283–330.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Buchanan, B. (2004). Money laundering—A global obstacle. Research in International Business and Finance, 18(1), 115–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Morris-Cotterill, N. (2001). Money laundering. Foreign Policy, 16–22.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Van Duyne, P. C. (2003). Money laundering policy – Fears and facts. Criminal finances and Organising crime in Europe, 67–104.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Johnson, J., & Desmond Lim, Y. C. (2003). Money laundering: Has the financial action task force made a difference? Journal of Financial Crime, 10(1), 7–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Welling, S. N. (1989). Smurfs, money laundering, and the Federal Criminal law: The crime of structuring transactions. Flavour Law Review, 41, 287–339.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stessens, G. (2000). Money laundering: A new international law enforcement model (Vol. 15). Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Alldridge, P. (2003). Money laundering law: Forfeiture, confiscation, civil recovery, criminal laundering and taxation of the proceeds of crime. Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Levi, M. (2002). Money laundering and its regulation. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 582(1), 181–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gaetke, E. R., & Welling, S. N. (1992). Money laundering and lawyers. Syracuse Law Review, 43, 1165–1245.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wohlers, W., & Kudlich, H. (2010). Wirtschaftsstrafrecht–Insbesondere Kapitalmarktstrafrecht, Insolvenzstrafrecht, Korruptionsstrafrecht, Glücksspiel und Geldwäsche. Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft, 122(3), 627–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Chaikin, D., & Sharman, J. C. (2009). Corruption and money laundering. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Alexander, K. (2001). The international anti-money-laundering regime: The role of the financial action task force. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 4(3), 231–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Doyle, T. (2001). Cleaning up anti-money laundering strategies: Current FATF tactics needlessly violate international law. Houston Journal of International Law, 24, 279–313.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Levi, M., & Gilmore, W. (2002). Terrorist finance, money laundering and the rise and rise of mutual evaluation: A new paradigm for crime control? In Financing terrorism (pp. 87–114). Springer Netherlands.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Takáts, E. (2007). A theory of “crying wolf”: The economics of money laundering enforcement. IMF working paper 7–81. Washington: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bagella, M., Busato, F., & Argentiero, A. (2009). Money laundering in a microfounded dynamic model: Simulations for the US and the EU-15 economies. Review of Law and Economics, 5(2), 879–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Alldridge, P. (2008). Money laundering and globalization. Journal of Law and Society, 35(4), 437–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Schneider, S. (2004a). Organized crime, money laundering, and the real estate market in Canada. Journal of Property Research, 21(2), 99–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Schneider, S. (2004b). Money laundering in Canada: An analysis of RCMP cases. Toronto: Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime and Corruption.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Quirk, P. J. (1997a). Money laundering: Muddying the macroeconomy. Finance and Development, 34, 7–9.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Quirk, P. J. (1997b). Macroeconomic implications of money laundering. Trends in Organized Crime, 2(3), 10–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Graber, C. (2009). Das neue GwG: Gesetzesausgabe mit englischer Übersetzung, Ausführungserlassen und Anmerkungen. Zürich: Schulthess.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schneider, F., & Windischbauer, U. (2008). Money laundering: Some facts. European Journal of Law and Economics, 26(3), 387–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Trechsel, S. (1997). Geldwäscherei: Prävention und Massnahmen zur Bekämp- fung. Zürich: Schulthess Polygraphischer Verlag.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Senator, T. E., Goldberg, H. G., Wooton, J., Cottini, M. A., Khan, A. U., Klinger, C. D., ... & Wong, R. W. (1995). Financial crimes enforcement network AI system (FAIS) identifying potential money laundering from reports of large cash transactions. AI Magazine, 16(4), 21–39.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kingdon, J. (2004). AI fights money laundering. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 19(3), 87–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Zhang, Z. M., Salerno, J. J., & Yu, P. S. (2003). Applying data mining in investigating money laundering crimes. In Proceedings of the ninth ACM SIGKDD international conference on knowledge discovery and data mining, (S. 747–752).Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jost, P. M., & Sandhu, H. S. (2003). The hawala alternative remittance system and its role in money laundering. Vienna: Interpol.FinCEN-Hawala.pdf.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Passas, N. (2003). Informal value transfer systems, terrorism and money laundering. Report to the National Institute of Justice. Boston: Northeastern University.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    McCusker, R. (2005). Underground banking : legitimate remittance network or money laundering system?. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 300. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
  42. 42.
    Robinson, J. (1996). The laundrymen: Inside money laundering, the world’s third-largest business. New York: Arcade Pub.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Blum, J. A., Levi, M., Naylor, R. T., & Williams, P. (1999). Financial havens, banking secrecy and money-laundering.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    He, P. (2010). A typological study on money laundering. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 13(1), 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Grosse, R. E. (2001). Drugs and money: Laundering Latin America’s cocaine dollars. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Madinger, J. (2011). Money laundering: A guide for criminal investigators. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Arzt, G., Weber, U., Heinrich, B., & Hilgendorf, E. (2009). Strafrecht, besonderer Teil: Lehrbuch. Bielefeld: Gieseking.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Gao, S., & Xu, D. (2009). Conceptual modeling and development of an intelligent agent-assisted decision support system for anti-money laundering. Expert Systems with Applications, 36(2), 1493–1504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Mitchell, A., Sikka, P., & Willmott, H. (1998). Sweeping it under the carpet: The role of accountancy firms in moneylaundering. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 23(5), 589–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Teichmann, F. (2016). Umgehungsmöglichkeiten der Geldwäschereipräventionsmassnahmen. Zürich: Schulthess Verlag.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Beare, M. E., & Schneider, S. (1990). Tracing of illicit funds: Money laundering in Canada (Vol. 5). Solicitor General Canada, Ministry Secretariat.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Beare, M. E. (Ed.). (2003). Critical reflections on transnational organized crime, money laundering and corruption. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Reuter, P., & Truman, E. M. (2005a). Anti-Money Laundering Overkill?. International Economy, Winter 2005, 56–60.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Reuter, P., & Truman, E. M. (2005b). Money laundering controls and terrorist finance. Financial Regulator, 10(2), 35–37.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Richards, J. R. (1998). Transnational criminal organization. Cybercrime and Money Laundering: A Handbook for Law Enforcement Officers, Auditors and Financial Investigation, Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Verhage, A. (2011). The anti money laundering complex and the compliance industry. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Teichmann, F. M. J. (2018). Real estate money laundering in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 21(3), 370–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Bowen, G. (2005). Preparing a qualitative research-based dissertation: Lessons learned. The Qualitative Report, 10(2), 208–222.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Buckler, K. (2008). The quantitative/qualitative divide revisited: A study of published research, doctoral program curricula, and journal editor perceptions. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 19(3), 383–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles/London/New Delhi/Singapore/Washington D.C.: Sage Publications. Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Mayring, P. (2010). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Healy, M., & Perry, C. (2000). Comprehensive criteria to judge validity and reliability of qualitative research within the realism paradigm. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 3(3), 118–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Mays, N., & Pope, C. (2000). Assessing quality in qualitative research. BMJ [British Medical Journal], 320(7226), 50–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Morse, J. M., Barrett, M., Mayan, M., Olson, K., & Spiers, J. (2002). Verification strategies for establishing reliability and validity in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabian Teichmann
    • 1
  1. 1.St. GallenSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations