Monday, July 6, 2009

Future Trends in Money Laundering

As enforcement tightens on tax havens, money laundering - currently associated with these havens - will evolve.

James Moss-Solomon, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Grace, Kennedy & Company Limited, predicts that henceforth, money will be laundered by selling goods below cost:

The worldwide assault on money laundering, racketeering, and confiscation under the proceeds of crime acts brought in new oversight and investigative mechanisms to the business of illegal drugs. The more recent move to remove the veil of secrecy from these tax havens is presenting the owners of illegal cash with severe problems. The no-questions-asked regime has ended, worldwide.

The question still to be answered is: Where will that money go? It cannot be circulated with impunity in and out of tax havens, as this must draw significant scrutiny. The only current solution is to import readily saleable goods, convert the sale at cost or below cost into Jamaican dollars and then either open a legitimate business, or buy government paper. The applicable discount for laundering is an extremely arbitrary figure as the profits have been much larger than normal margins, and so selling goods below cost is an attractive cleansing methodology. No doubt, they will try to sell themselves as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank.

If I am correct, we should see increased domestic cargo activities at our ports and a proliferation of foreign goods on our shelves. This could be great news for the consumer at this time of depression, but potentially damaging to the legitimate manufacturers and traders. It is not an element which will lead to sustainable development. It will also reopen the pressure on our bureaucrats to accept bribes and other forms of corruption. Finally, it will once again find its way into financing the production of ganja for export. And the cycle will begin again.

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