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20 Denv. J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 515 (1991-1992)
Treasury Regulation of International Wire Transfer and Money Laundering: A Case for a Permanent Moratorium

handle is hein.journals/denilp20 and id is 523 raw text is: Treasury Regulation of International Wire
Transfer and Money Laundering: A Case
for a Permanent Moratorium
I. INTRODUCTION
The basis of virtually every international business transaction is a
transfer of assets in the form of currency, instruments or other goods or
services as consideration for that transaction. Modern technology has
contributed greatly to the speed and efficiency of funds transfers con-
nected with these transactions.
Electronic funds transfers are a series of messages to and through
one or more banks that are intended to result in the payment of funds
from one person to another.' This is accomplished through the electronic
debiting of the account of the originator or person sending the money
and a corresponding credit to the beneficiary or the person receiving
the funds.2 No cash is physically transported in this type of transaction.
The speed and efficiency of this system has helped facilitate the expan-
sion of international trade by making the payment process less cumber-
some and, in fact, almost instantaneous.
This ease and facility has unfortunately also provided an efficient
system by which to launder illicit cash proceeds from criminal activity
such as narcotics trafficking.3 Laundering such illegal proceeds into usa-
ble, apparently legitimate assets is essential for many criminal enter-
prises. Estimates of the amount of money illegally laundered for all pur-
poses range from $100 billion to $300 billion annually. Once absorbed
into the system, this dirty money becomes increasingly difficult to dis-
1. Proposed Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act Regulations, 55 Fed. Reg. 41,696
(1990), to be codified at 31 C.F.R. pt. 103 (proposed Oct. 15, 1990). Electronic funds trans-
fers is a term used in statutes and regulations domestically and will be used interchangea-
bly with the terms wire transfer, electronic payments, and electronic transfer
throughout this article.
2. Id.
3. Nowhere ... is the need for money laundering more important than in the illicit
drug trade - a cash business with estimated U.S. sales in excess of $100 billion annually.
U.S. GEN. ACCT'G OFC., REPORT TO THE CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM, NARCOTICS
AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, U.S. SENATE, MONEY
LAUNDERING: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS RESPONDING TO THE PROBLEM, GAO/NSIAD-91-130,
at 2 (May 1991) [hereinafter 1991 GAO Report].
4. U.S. GEN. ACCT'G OFC., REPORT TO THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MINORITY MEMBER,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TREASURY, POSTAL SERVICE AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT, COMMITTEE ON
APPROPRIATIONS, U.S. SENATE, MONEY LAUNDERING: TREASURY'S FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCE-
MENT NETWORK, GAO/GGD-91-53, at 2 (Mar. 1991).

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