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Synopsis

Money laundering is the process of converting or transferring cash or other assets, generated from illegal activity, in order to conceal or disguise their origins. In recent years, the international community has decided that focusing on money laundering is an efficient strategy in policing organized crime and, now terrorism. To this end, countries are encouraged to harmonize their policies and legislation and, to some extent, their policing strategies. Before adopting these new strategies, however, it is important to understand the extent of money laundering in different jurisdictions, as well as the likelihood of success and the costs involved in these anti-laundering strategies.

This new work by Margaret E. Beare and Stephen Schneider brings empirical evidence to the study of money laundering in Canada - a topic that has recently assumed an international profile. They challenge the seemingly common sense notion, fueled by political posturing and policing rhetoric, that taking the profits away from criminals is a rational law enforcment strategy. Using data from police cases, the inner working of financial institutions, and the 'successful' claims of privilege from our legal profession, the final picture that the authors paint is of a good enforcement strategy run amuch amid conflicting interests and agendas, an overly ambitious set of expectations, and an ambiguous body of evidence as to the strategy's overall merits.

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