Dirty Money in the Spotlight

A proposal to get tough on banks that launder cash

Big-time crime in the U.S. must be able to count on one thing: converting its seamy gains into money that is easier to use than the stacks of $50s or $100s in which payoffs are often made. By a process known as laundering, criminals deposit money in American or foreign banks, then withdraw it and invest it in construction projects, real estate or corporations. There is a lot to launder. The underworld's haul is estimated at no less than $ 170 billion annually from drug trafficking, prostitution and illegal gambling. Last week...

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