The Laundrymen: Inside Money Laundering, the World's Third-Largest Business

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The Laundrymen: Inside Money Laundering, the World's Third-Largest Business

By Jeffrey Robinson
Arcade Publishing, 1996
358 pp. $25.95
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Most crime is undertaken not for its own sake but to enrich the criminals. Hence much crime has its counterpart in the handling of funds, often embarrassingly large amounts of money, which must somehow be legitimized. Money laundering takes funds of illegal origin, mainly from the sale of drugs, and runs them through a series of transactions that at a minimum obscure their true origin and at best make them appear to derive from legitimate business activities. But not all money laundering has to do with crime. National intelligence services or even state officials may wish to conceal activities that may be politically embarrassing or questionable even if legal. This book reports on a large number of episodes of money laundering, drawing from court records, journalistic accounts, and private interviews. But the whole never really exceeds the sum of its parts, which are mainly incomplete war stories spiced with innuendo -- that is, suggestions of possible connections to other events that are not pursued, some of which leave the discerning reader incredulous.