Rapid developments in financial information, technology and communication allow money to move anywhere in the world with speed and ease. This makes the task of combating money-laundering more urgent than ever.
The deeper "dirty money" gets into the international banking system, the more difficult it is to identify its origin. Because of the clandestine nature of money-laundering, it is difficult to estimate the total amount of money that goes through the laundry cycle.
The estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2 - 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars. Though the margin between those figures is huge, even the lower estimate underlines the seriousness of the problem governments have pledged to address.
There have been a number of developments in the international financial system during recent decades that have made the three F's-finding, freezing and forfeiting of criminally derived income and assets-all the more difficult. These are the "dollarization" (i.e. the use of the United States dollar in transactions) of black markets, the general trend towards financial deregulation, the progress of the Euromarket and the proliferation of financial secrecy havens.
Fuelled by advances in technology and communications, the financial infrastructure has developed into a perpetually operating global system in which "megabyte money" (i.e. money in the form of symbols on computer screens) can move anywhere in the world with speed and ease.
For more information about other organizations involved in anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) activities, please see related links.