My Brother's Keeper: An Empirical Study of Attorney Facilitation of Money-Laundering Through Commercial Transactions
52 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2010 Last revised: 28 Feb 2011
Date Written: August 12, 2010
In recent years, various “gatekeeping initiatives” have been introduced through inter-governmental standard-setting organizations, such as the Financial Action Task Force, as well as through federal legislation in the United States, which seek to apply the mandatory customer due diligence, record keeping, and suspicious activity reporting obligations contained in the existing anti-money laundering regime to lawyers when they conduct certain commercial transactions on behalf of their clients. The organized bar has argued against such attempts to regulate it, in part, due to the lack of empirical data showing that, as a threshold matter, lawyers unwittingly aid money laundering in a significant number of cases. Through the analysis of a sample of money laundering cases from the Second Circuit, this Article empirically examines whether lawyers are involved in a significant number of transactions that serve to launder elicit funds, and it considers the implications of the study on whether lawyers are in a position to serve as gate-keepers against money-laundering.
Keywords: criminal law, business law, commercial law, banking law, legal ethics, international law
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