How do you move millions of dollars from one place to another?
Obviously, you use a bank.
But what if the money is dirty?
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has documented several laundromats, e.g. the Troika Laundromat.
A laundromat is a scheme of shell companies and bank accounts to move money – often Russian money – offshore. The investigations read like a spy novel, full of criminals, politicians, lawyers and bankers.
For example, this article explains how Moldovan judges enabled flows out of Russia by authenticating guarantees on “defaulted loans” between shell companies.
Sometimes, bankers looted their own institutions, see The Vienna Bank Job for details.
Fascinating stuff, involving major Western banks as well.
How should authorities respond to these illicit activities?
In the EU, several countries have jointly proposed to create a centralized anti-money laundering (AML) supervisor.
Joshua Kirschenbaum has pointed out that the U.S. could counter malign financial activity by targeting banks that facilitate organized crime.