Trade-Based Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

John S. Zdanowicz 1
  • 1 Florida International University

Money laundering can be defined, generally, as the process of concealing the existence, illegal source, or application of income derived from a criminal activity, and the subsequent disguising of the source of that income to make it appear legitimate. Deception is the heart of money laundering. The use of international trade to move money, undetected, from one country to another is one of the oldest techniques used to circumvent government scrutiny. International trade as a means of laundering money is also a technique generally ignored by most government law enforcement agencies. This article details how false international trade invoicing is used to move money across borders, undetected. This research details how the statistical analysis of the U.S. trade database can assist in measuring illegal money flows. It also details some statistical techniques that may be used to detect and monitor these abnormal transactions.

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The Review of Law & Economics (RLE) is published in cooperation with the European Association of Law and Economics (EALE) and De Gruyter. The Review publishes theoretical and empirical interdisciplinary research in law and economics-related subjects. The Journal explores the various understandings that economic approaches shed on legal institutions.