PARIS, FRANCE – David Lewis, executive director of the Financial Action Task Force, the global anti‑money laundering standard-setter, rejected reports Monday that money laundering laws have almost no impact on crime and are designed to give politicians convincing anti-crime platitudes while producing billions of dollars in compliance fees forever. “In combating $3 trillion made from crime each year, $310 billion in costs and penalties on legitimate businesses is a pittance”, Lewis retorted. “While it is true that every cent is ultimately paid by taxpayers and ordinary citizens, successful prosecutions take place every day and some years $2 billion is also taken from criminals.” Speaking by Zoom from an undisclosed location, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada – presumed leader of the Sinaloa drugs cartel since the 2016 arrest of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – agreed with Lewis, adding that “anti-money laundering laws are crushingly effective. Organized crime groups barely keep 99.95 percent of gross earnings”. Evidence supports Zambada’s grievance. A 2020 research study found the proportion of crime money successfully seized is a staggering 0.05 percent, which the United Nations calls the “success rate” of money laundering controls. At press time, the study’s author, Dr Ron Pol, a political scientist, said that “scurrilous media outlets might try to satirize these results, but it’s just plain facts”.
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