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Dirty Dealing

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Dirty Dealing

The Untold Truth about Global Money Laundering, International Crime and Terrorism

Kogan Page,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Criminal enterprises make plenty of money worldwide, but they can't spend it until they launder it. No problem.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Innovative
  • Overview


The subtitle of this book promises the "untold story" of dirty international financial dealings. That’s not quite what it delivers, because the book compiles already-published accounts, public reports and Congressional testimony, and adds to them. Given that money laundering involves drug dealers, terrorists and slavers, the book has some titillating asides about sex, violence and filthy money. Author Peter Lilley explains precisely how money laundering works, including an introduction to the practices and techniques that have proven most successful. While praising the author’s reportorial depth, getAbstract notes one dilemma that emerges from such thoroughness: we hope this book doesn’t fall into the hands of someone who wishes to take up money laundering but is unsure how to proceed. Business people who want to avoid being victimized should take particular note of the chapter discussing well-known checks-and-balances, controls and best practices.


Why Money Gets Laundered

Criminals are almost always in crime for the money. Drug dealers, sex traffickers, high-level corporate cheats, arms traders, gamblers, Mafiosi, Chinese triads and Russian gangs have no other apparent motivation. The exception may be ideologically motivated criminals, such as the Islamic terrorist groups. But even they need money and often obtain it through such criminal activities as drug trafficking.

The problem with dirty money derived from criminal enterprise is that it is tricky to spend or invest. Tax authorities and other regulators tend to ask awkward questions about large sums of cash. Money is only useful if you can spend it, so criminals need to make ill-gotten gains look clean and legitimate. That is why they launder money. Money laundering is the process of disguising or obscuring the origin of funds so that they seem to be the fruits of wholesome business. Several factors have made money laundering easier than it used to be, including:

  • The corruption of entire countries, such as Columbia, by the drug trade.
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall and the seizure of power by criminal elements.
  • The globalization of...

About the Author

Peter Lilley has been involved in the prevention, detection and investigation of global business crime and money laundering for 20 years in a variety of senior roles. He now advises a wide range of organizations on how to fight these problems through his firm, Proximal Consulting. He is the author of Hacked, Attacked and Abused.

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