International anti‐money laundering programs

Marco Arnone (Centre for Macroeconomics and Finance Research, Milan, Italy)
Leonardo Borlini (Paolo Baffi Centre on Central Banking and Financial Regulation, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy Centre for Macroeconomics and Finance Research, Milan, Italy)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Publication date: 20 July 2010



The purpose of this paper is to present an empirical assessment and outline issues in criminal regulation relating to international anti‐money laundering (AML) programs.


In the first part, this paper outlines the serious threats posed by transnational laundering operations in the context of economic globalization, and calls for highly co‐ordinated international responses to such a crime. The second part of the paper centres on elements of international criminal regulation of ML.


The focus is on the phenomenological aspect of ML and highlights that to a large extent it is an economic issue. Economic analysis calls for an accurate legal response, with typical trade‐offs: it should deter criminals from laundering by increasing the costs for such illicit operations, calling for enhanced regulatory and enforcement activities; however, stronger enforcement yields increased costs and reduces privacy. These features have lately inspired the recent paradigm shift from a rule‐based regulatory framework to a risk‐based approach which still represents an extremely delicate regulatory. Both at the international level and within the single domestic legal system, AML law is typically characterised by a multidisciplinary approach combining the repressive profile with preventive mechanisms: an empirical evaluation of the International Monetary Fund‐World Bank AML program is presented, where these two aspects are assessed. The non‐criminal measures recently implemented under the auspices of the main inter‐governmental public organisations with competence in these fields seem to be consistent with the insights of economic analysis. However, some key criminal issues need to be better addressed.


The paper offers insights into international AML programs, focusing on criminal regulation.



Arnone, M. and Borlini, L. (2010), "International anti‐money laundering programs", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 226-271.

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