To read this content please select one of the options below:

A qualitative study exploring challenges in money laundering investigations

Syed Mahmood Ali Shah (City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar and Federal Board of Revenue, Regional Tax Office, Peshawar, Pakistan)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Article publication date: 7 June 2021

Issue publication date: 18 April 2023




This study aims to investigate the behavior of investigating officers in performance of their official duties of conducting inquiries and investigations of money laundering cases and their views about real problems and issues encountered during such investigations.


In total, 15 interviews were conducted with Inland Revenue Service (IRS) investigating officers and money laundering experts, whose responses were subjected to qualitative content analysis. Observation method was also used by the researcher during the whole process of investigation in multiple cases of money laundering investigations. Rationale for conducting qualitative study is to acquire original information from respondents which may not have been possible through a closed-ended questionnaire.


Findings of the study reveal that change in the behavior of investigating officers may result in better performance by way of conducting money laundering investigations in an effective and efficient manner. And the behavior of investigating officers may be changed by addressing the problems and issues encountered by them while at work and conducting anti money laundering investigations, better performance of investigating officers may result in better performance of investigating agency which may portray better image of the government in combating against terrorism financing and money laundering.

Research limitations/implications

Findings of the study are limited to the perspectives of 15 interviewees. For this reason, it is probable that a study with a larger sample conducted in other offices of IRS Intelligence as well as other investigating agencies could have provided different or more concrete results.

Practical implications

Evidently, the addressal of such issues may invariably enhance the effective enforcement of money laundering activities by way of improving the performance of investigating officers in performance of their duties relating to money laundering investigations. It also provides legislators and money laundering investigating agencies with valuable insight into the whole process of money laundering investigations and challenges encountered by investigating officers. By enhanced understanding the specific problems of investigations, the enabling authorities should be able to more effectively combat both money laundering and terrorism financing.


This is the first study, to the best of the author’s knowledge, which tries to explain the behavior of investigating officer toward their work and their perceived understanding of the problems being faced while conducting investigations in money laundering.



Shah, S.M.A. (2023), "A qualitative study exploring challenges in money laundering investigations", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 523-534.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles