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Is there a commendable regime for combatting money laundering in international business transactions?

Andrew Emerson Clarke (Faculty of Social Sciences, Kent Law School, Canterbury, UK)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Article publication date: 17 July 2020

Issue publication date: 25 May 2021




Money laundering and grand business corruption continue to plague the global economy, accounting for 2%-5% of the global gross domestic product. Illicit funds, produced through grand corruption, are laundered using complex layering schemes that cloak them in legitimacy by concealing their origins. Lamentably, weak anti-money laundering (AML) frameworks promote economic instability, unjust commercial advantages and organized crimes. This study aims to highlight the need for comprehensive anti-corruption and AML frameworks by critiquing the exploitable gaps in the global AML regime created by heterogeneous state-level AML regimes to date.


This study welcomes the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the financial action task force (FATF) recommendations but underscores the limitations of their effectiveness by investigating state-level enforcement mechanisms to determine these instruments’ true impact or lack thereof. The mutual evaluation reports (MERs) and state-level AML regimes in the UK, the USA and Canada are analyzed to illustrate the distinct implementation of international soft law in domestic legislation.


This study finds that UNCAC and the FATF recommendations are pivotal steps towards the establishment of a global AML regime for international business, albeit, one that remains imperfect because of the inconsistency of state-level AML frameworks. Consequently, international cooperation is needed to navigate and improve the discrepancies in varied AML legislation.


The author provides an in-depth and balanced analysis of current state-level AML developments and relies upon the recent 2016-2018 MERs to indicate the successes and flaws of various AML legislation. Therefore, this critique may guide stakeholders to construct robust AML frameworks and contributes to academic research in AML.



Clarke, A.E. (2021), "Is there a commendable regime for combatting money laundering in international business transactions?", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 163-176.



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