Effects of Money Laundering on Development

Blog / Effects of Money Laundering on Development

As it is known, money laundering is the crime of obtaining money obtained illegally. Corrupt anti-money laundering regimes in countries allow criminals and terrorist financiers to use their financial gains to expand their criminal pursuits and encourage illegal activities such as corruption and drug trafficking. Although money laundering and terrorist financing can occur in any country, it has particularly significant economic and social consequences for developing countries.

Also, money laundering has significant economic and social consequences for countries with fragile financial systems because they are also susceptible to disruptions from such effects. On the other hand, an effective framework for anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) has significant benefits for a country both locally and internationally.

The Economic Cost of Money Laundering

Money laundering harms financial sector institutions critical to economic growth. Money laundering promotes crime and corruption that slows economic growth and decreases productivity in the real sector economy. Money laundering is a problem both in the world's major financial markets both in emerging markets. As emerging markets develop their economies and financial sectors, they are increasingly becoming suitable targets for money laundering activities. In addition to creating unpredictable money demand changes, money laundering causes large fluctuations in international capital flows and exchange rates. The adverse effects of money laundering on the economy can be discussed in many subjects, such as money demand, growth rates, income distribution, tax revenues, financial institutions.

Meanwhile, you can visit this blog to examine the negative effects of money laundering on the economy; "Negative Effects of Money Laundering on The Economy."

The Social Cost of Money Laundering

There are not only economic but also significant social costs and risks associated with money laundering. Money laundering allows criminals such as drug traffickers to expand their operations. This increases the government's cost due to the increased law enforcement and the need for healthcare spending to combat the serious consequences. Money laundering briefly transfers economic power from the government, citizens, and the market to criminals. Furthermore, the magnitude of the economic power accruing to criminals without money laundering has a degenerative effect on all society elements. Money laundering can lead to a virtual takeover of a legitimate government.

Overall, money laundering presents a complex and dynamic challenge to the world community. If governments want to reduce the ability of criminals to launder their income and conduct criminal activities, they must certainly cope with the global nature of money laundering, global standards, and international cooperation. Besides, Governments reduce public spending that will spend more money on AML regulations and law enforcement through a backlash. The result is that the normal citizen is badly affected.

The Adverse Money Laundering Implications for Developing Countries

Countries Money laundering and financing of terrorism can occur in any country, but the value of the damage it causes may vary from country to country. Especially for developing countries, money laundering has significant economic and social consequences because markets here tend to be small and more susceptible to disruption from criminal or terrorist influences. Of course, money laundering and financing terrorism also have significant economic and social consequences for countries with fragile financial systems. These countries are also susceptible to cuts from such effects. Ultimately, the economy, society, and security of countries used as money laundering or terrorist financing platforms are at stake. We will examine the effects of money laundering on developed countries in the rest of the article.

International Consequences and Foreign Investment

Any developing country with a reputation as a haven for money laundering or terrorist financing could have significant negative consequences for development. Foreign financial institutions can limit their transactions with institutions from money laundering heavens, stop their investments, make transactions more expensive, and be subject to extra scrutiny. Even legitimate businesses and organizations living in money laundering heavens can suffer from reduced access to world markets or higher costs due to extra scrutiny of their ownership, organization, and control systems. As a result, with the loose implementation of AML / CFT, any known country is less likely to receive foreign private investment. Moreover, for developing countries, eligibility for foreign state aid is likely to be severely restricted

Increased Crime and Corruption

Seeing a country as a money-laundering haven is likely to attract criminals and encourage corruption. Several factors lead to increased crime and corruption, for example, a weak AML / CFT regime, too little, weak or selective enforcement of AML / CFT provisions, ineffective penalties including hard seizure provisions, and a limited number of precursor offenses for money laundering. If money laundering is widespread in a country, crimes such as corruption occur more.

Criminals also increase bribery by the country's major institutions to make their money laundering efforts successful. Although many institutions can be used in bribery, the employees and management of financial institutions, lawyers and accountants, legislatures, supervisory authorities, police officials, prosecutors, and courts come at the beginning of them. Timely and effective practices in countries can significantly reduce this criminal activity's profitable profits and deter crimes. 

Private Sector

Money laundering criminals use shell companies because shell companies are commercial companies that appear legitimate but are actually controlled by criminals. These shell companies mix illegal funds with legitimate funds to hide unfair income. Front companies are not only aiming to make a profit but also to protect illegal funds. By using shell companies and other investments in legitimate companies, money laundering proceeds can be used to control all industries or sectors of particular countries' economies. This increases the potential for monetary instability due to improper allocation of resources from artificial distortions in asset prices. It also provides a way to avoid taxation and thus deprive the country of income. 

Weakened Financial Institutions

Money laundering can damage a country's financial sector's soundness and financial institutions' stability, such as banks. The negative consequences, commonly defined as reputational, operational, legal, and concentration risks, are interrelated, and each has certain costs. Reputational risk to be experienced in a financial institution leads to a loss of trust in the institution's integrity by negative publicity about a bank's business practices and associations. Customers, borrowers, depositors, and investors alike stop doing business with an institution whose reputation has been damaged by suspicion or allegations of money laundering or terrorist financing. Money laundering has many such negative effects on financial institutions. 

Privatization Efforts

Money launderers threaten the economies of many countries through privatization. These criminal organizations may surpass legitimate buyers of former state-owned businesses. When illegal revenues are invested in this way, criminals increase their potential to commit more criminal activity and corruption and deprive the country of what it should be a legal, market-based, tax-paying enterprise.

Benefits of a Powerful AML / CFT Framework

We talked about the many negative effects of money laundering on development; of course, there is a way to reduce these negative effects, including having effective AML / CTF applications and programs. An effective AML / CTF implementation increases the deterrence of crimes, protects organizations from money laundering, and allows them to minimize their risks. Below, we have examined 3 main topics about how to make effective AML / CTF applications.

1) Enhancing The Stability of Financial Institutions

The financial risks arising from money laundering are quite high, and there are sound banking practices that reduce these risks. These risks include the potential for individuals or financial institutions to suffer due to fraud, lax internal controls, or violations of laws and regulations that result directly from criminal activities. "Know Your Customer" (KYC) rules and due diligence procedures are an essential part of an effective AML / CFT regime. These rules ensure the safe and healthy operation of institutions that are at risk of money laundering.

These policies and procedures are an effective risk management tool. Simultaneously, an effective AML / CFT regime also reduces the potential for fraudulent damage to the organization. Proper customer identification procedures and the beneficial owner's determinations provide special due diligence for higher-risk accounts and monitor suspicious activity. Such prudent internal controls are consistent with the safe and sound operation of a financial institution. 

2) Encouraging Economic Development

Money laundering has a direct negative impact on economic growth. Illegal funds laundered take a different path in the economy than statutory funds. The laundered funds are often placed in "sterile" investments to preserve their value or make them more easily transferable, rather than being placed in productive channels for further investment. These investments include high-value consumption assets such as art, real estate, jewelry, antiques, or luxury cars. Such investments do not create additional products for the wider economy.

Even worse, criminal organizations can turn productive businesses into vicious investments by operating illegal revenues for the primary purpose of laundering rather than profit-making enterprises. Unlike investments for productive purposes, a country's dedication to sterile investments in its resources ultimately reduces the overall economy's productivity. Strong AML / CFT regimes are a deterrent to crime in the economy. This allows investments to be transformed into productive goals that respond to consumer needs and help the overall economy's productivity.

3) Fighting Crime and Corruption

A strong AML / CFT institutional framework, which includes broad premise crimes for money laundering, helps fight crime and corruption in general. When money laundering itself becomes a crime, both help criminals through underlying criminal acts and laundering illegally obtained funds. Similarly, an AML / CFT framework that includes bribery as a premise offense and is effectively enforced provides fewer opportunities for offenders to bribe public officials or otherwise corrupt them. An effective AML regime in itself is a deterrent to criminal activity. Such a regime makes it difficult for criminals to benefit from their actions. In this regard, the seizure and confiscation of money laundering proceeds are crucial to any AML program's success. Loss of money laundering revenues completely removes these profits and thus reduces the incentives to take criminal actions. Thus, the broader the scope of the antecedent crimes related to money laundering, the greater the potential benefit.

Effective AML / CFT Framework with Sanction Scanner

The risk-based approach is key to effective AML programs. Organizations can determine customer risk levels with our AML screening service while opening a customer account for an accurate risk assessment. With Sanction Scanner solutions, organizations can create an appropriate AML control program that can identify their new customers' risks with comprehensive global enforcement, PEP, and Adverse media data. Simultaneously, regulators such as FATF and the European Union agree that UBOs have ML / TF risk, so there are important information and obligations regarding UBOs. Organizations can control the opposite party company's managers by performing UBO control in their business partnerships with Sanction Scanner.

The Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures are important components of effective AML / CFT programs. To avoid financial crime risks, liable organizations under AML have to verify their customers. With our AML Name Screening tool, you can perform CDD and KYC transactions by the obligations. Also, the Sanction Scanner Transaction Monitoring tool provides end-to-end features that enable companies of all sizes to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism obligations. For detailed information, you can contact us or request a demo

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