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Money Laundering


One popular money-laundering practice is to make hundreds of small deposits to avoid having large deposits reported to law-enforce­ment agencies. Another alternative is to mix illegal deposits with legal ones, channeling illegally earned money through legitimate businesses that use banks for processing large amounts of legally earned deposits. A restaurant that does not accept credit cards, for example, deposits a large amount of cash each day in banks. These transfers can then serve as a cover for deposits of illicit funds.

The key to any money laundering scheme is to get the money into legitimate bank accounts without alerting law-enforcement officials to the money's illicit past. Once the money is in a legitimate account, it can be transferred around the world without interference from the authorities.

The currency of choice for most drug-related and other illegal transactions is the U.S. dollar. This partly explains why more than half of the U.S. greenbacks printed cannot be found anywhere in the American economy. Drug lords in the Far East, underground traders in Eastern Europe, and black market currency dealers in Latin America all make use of the U.S. dollar for their illegal activities.

The world’s criminals need to periodically recycle their "dirty money" so that it can be used in the economy at large without anyone knowing about its illegal past. A money laundering scheme is the process that turns large sums of illegally earned funds into "respectable" money. A drug dealer, for example, may end a day's work with a large amount of cash that needs to be deposited or otherwise spent. Since there is a limit to the number of luxury automobiles and condominiums a drug dealer can effectively use or buy without creating suspicion, illicit earnings need to be put into a bank, to be available for future use.

The U.S. dollar, mainly twenty- and hundred-dollar bills, came into use as an underground currency because of its liquidity: it can be exchanged almost anywhere in the world without raising suspicion. Because of the size and stability of the U.S. economy, the U.S. dollar has become the preferred currency for most players in the underground economies of the world.

International bank transfers are just electronic messages, from one bank to another, that instruct banks to put money from one account into another. The sheer size of these international computerized trans­fers, often exceeding $1 trillion per day, makes them difficult to con­trol. The illegal transfers disappear in a sea of legal ones.



1. What is the key to any money laundering?

2. What popular money-laundering practice is described in the text?

3. What is the currency of choice for most illegal transactions?



Ex. 18. Translate the following text into Russian.


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