Money laundering is a process whereby the origin of funds generated by illegal means, like corruption, is concealed. The objective of the operation, which usually takes places in several stages, consists in making the capital and assets that are illegally gained seem as though they are derived from a legitimate source, and inserting them into economic circulation – typically by transferring the funds across international borders into legitimate financial institutions.
The relationship between money laundering and corruption is clear. Corrupt money is usually laundered in an attempt to legitimize it and hide its source. Regimes that lack systems of accountability and transparency typically allow for high levels of money laundering and corruption. Further, some of the poorest countries in the world are the most corrupt, as measured by Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report. According to Transparency International a one unit decline on a 10-point corruption index lowers real GDP by 0.3 to 1.8 percentage points.
Anti-Money Laundering Global Task Force
The Anti-Money Laundering Global Task Force (GTF-AML) works with anti-money laundering experts, and organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Interpol, the Egmont Group, and Transparency International. The GTF-AML has developed a complementary approach to combating money laundering, in particular the laundering of corrupt money, and promotes the use of practical tools and techniques to limit or arrest such activity.
To help parliamentarians in the fight against corruption in regards to money laundering, GTF-AML has developed a GOPAC Anti-Money Laundering Action Guide for Parliamentarians. This resource provides parliamentarians with information and tools to become actively engaged in their legislatures in the fight against money laundering. Through the guide parliamentarians will gain the knowledge necessary to introduce anti-money laundering legislation and build a coalition with other parliamentarians to police and prosecute money laundering in their countries.
The GTF-AML takes action through:
- Capacity building – through anti-money laundering workshops, promoting among parliamentarians a good understanding of the evolving practices of money laundering as well as international initiatives to combat them, and, in particular, the ways in which parliamentarians can effectively contribute to this fight;
- Partnerships – establishing links with international expert agencies to help ensure they have a clear understanding as to how parliamentarians can provide political leadership and support of the anti money laundering initiatives carried out by those agencies; to help tailor international organisations’ informational material intended to provide information to parliamentarians; and provide parliamentarians seeking to reform country practices to have improved access to expertise;
- Action Plans – developing global and regional plans required to help parliamentarians that are actively seeking to implement improved anti money laundering practices in their countries and regions; and
- Lessons Learned – tracking experiences, sharing and synthesizing lessons of parliamentarians engaged in anti-money laundering initiatives to help improve their performance in combating money laundering.
Teofisto Guingona III, Chair GTF-AML, Senator, Philippines
Roy Cullen, Former Parliamentarian, Canada
Ricardo García Cervantes, former senator, Mexico
Mary King, former Minister, Trinidad and Tobago
Given Lubinda, National Assembly of Zambia
Fernando Pérez Noriega, former parliamentarian, Mexico
Robert Masitara, Member of Parliament, Botswana
GTF-AML Position Statement
Parliamentarians play a vital role in combating money laundering through their influence on legislation, by vigorous oversight of government activity and support of parliamentary auditors, and perhaps most effectively through personal leadership. They engage the public and help to build the political will to act.
By engaging parliamentarians in the fight against money laundering we can strengthen the international regime globally thus impeding the flow of illegal funds across international borders and within domestic economies.
Further, parliamentarians on both sides of the Recovery of Associated Assets (RAA) equation – those that have been stolen from and those countries profiting – need to be engaged in order to ensure global cooperation and the reduction of barriers.