27 October 2011

Money laundering remains very big business according to a report published at a U.N. Convention Against Corruption conference in Marrakesh this week.  The UN assesses that in 2009 approximately 2.7% of global GDP was illicitly recycled  through international mechanisms. Not surprisingly, the most profitable form of transnational organized crime is the drug trade, which accounts for about one-fifth of all crime proceeds. Of that, the cocaine market is the most lucrative at about $84 billion. Taken together, all proceeds of crime (excluding tax evasion) reached $2.1 trillion in 2009. Less than 1% of illicit financial flows were being seized or frozen. UNDOC in conjunction with the World Bank also reported on mechanisms being used to facilitate these illicit transactions. This second report estimates that internationally, US$1 billion is “siphoned off” in bribes each year.