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The United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention and Money Laundering

25 Pages Posted: 26 May 2009  

Indira M. Carr

University of Surrey

Miriam Goldby

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 25, 2009


Corruption knows no boundaries and is not unique to developing countries, as the recent furore over the alleged BAE (British Aerospace) slush fund and the Al Yamamah defence contracts demonstrates. Furthermore, even where corruption takes place in developing countries, its proceeds are likely to be laundered through the international financial system. Indeed corruption is a crime which relies significantly on the laundering process, which is essential for the corrupt to be able to enjoy the proceeds of crime. It is therefore trite to say that the involvement and cooperation of western States in detecting and preventing the laundering of proceeds of corruption is essential. This paper explores the links between international measures to combat corruption, in particular the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and international anti-money laundering regimes. Most countries have national laws that address both corruption and money laundering, albeit separately. However, most national laws are by themselves unable to address a problem that is international in character. In response, the international community has adopted a number of regional and international measures. Amongst these, the UNCAC has attracted over a hundred ratifications from both developed and developing countries. The UNCAC is one of the most comprehensive anti-corruption instruments. It criminalises money laundering (Article 23) and includes a range of preventive mechanisms as well as dealing with the proceeds of corruption (Article 14). The aim of this paper is to examine these provisions and assess it against the existing general framework of anti-money laundering measures, including the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations, the Guidelines issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Wolfsberg Principles on Money Laundering, with a view to seeing how the current framework in dealing with the proceeds of corruption can be improved further.

Keywords: UNCAC, UN Convention Against Corruption, money laundering, corruption

Suggested Citation

Carr, Indira M. and Goldby, Miriam, The United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention and Money Laundering (May 25, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Indira M. Carr (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom
07808 761492 (Phone)


Miriam Goldby

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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