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Coffin on Compliance: Inside the Russian Laundromat

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A long-running effort to move some $21 billion illegally out of Russia has underscored just how unprepared the world financial services system is to address the ingenuity of money launderers. This Russian scheme, dubbed the “Laundromat” by investigators, created a system of sham transactions that were legitimized upon being adjudicated by the courts. Those court proceedings would dump the money into Moldova, then to Latvia, and from there, wherever else in the European Union it could go. Much of it went to the United Kingdom, and more than a few major banks ended up handling some of this dirty money, once again showing that having a system robust enough to prevent any kind of illicit transaction from moving through it is a task far more easier said than done.