Money laundering online

OECD Observer

Internet casinos are proving an attractive bet for criminals needing to launder their ill-gotten gains because of the difficulties encountered by the authorities in tracking such cyber transactions, the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering (FATF) says.

Some criminals are already using online gambling as a cover for money laundering over the Internet, the FATF said in its annual report on money laundering methods. Internet gambling not only makes it difficult to track money movements, but also to decide which jurisdiction has authority over a case.

But if such hi-tech methods are proving attractive, old-fashioned hard cash still accounts for a large proportion of money laundering activity. Terrorist groups, for instance, frequently resort to drug trafficking, robbery and extortion to raise their funds, but they also receive money from legitimate donations and from the sale of publications. The FATF members have not yet agreed on whether their anti-money laundering efforts should target terrorists.

Separately, an FATF meeting in Paris in February welcomed the "significant additional progress" made by seven of the list of 15 jurisdictions it had identified in June 2000 as non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering. But as no country had yet enacted and implemented all the necessary reforms, none was taken off the list immediately. The situation will be monitored closely.

The FATF is a 31-member independent international body whose secretariat is based at the OECD in Paris.

©OECD Observer No 225, March 2001

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