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Follow the Money

Courtesy Reuters

SECRETS AND LIES

As the international financial system has expanded, so too have financial abuses -- money laundering, tax evasion, and rogue banking. Globalization is now changing the nature of these age-old problems, threatening to undermine U.S. diplomatic, economic, and even strategic interests. Multilateral efforts have begun to combat these abuses and have already achieved some impressive results. But time is running short for the Bush administration to act, and its decisions now will determine whether these multilateral efforts will continue.

Financial abuses have been around for as long as there have been finances to abuse. Money laundering and tax evasion are often viewed as complicated, boring matters hinging on the minutiae of tax codes and regulatory laws. But that image masks a destructive, often bloody reality. Drug cartels, arms traffickers, terrorist groups, and common criminal organizations use banks to launder their dirty money, making it appear as the

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