The world estimate for the amount of money involved in money laundering is around US$ 500 billion to US$ 1.5 trillion. This is a huge amount of money by any calculation to the financial systems involved. The problem is grim and the dimensions are enormous and the steps taken to contain this problem are monumental. Added to this is the money got from other countries through corrupt dictators. Chamberlain (2002) describes this scenario and illustrates the "difficulties involved in recovering assets that are the proceeds of grand corruption by politicians and officials who have held high office" in African countries. In these cases the corruption has reached the scale that the culprits ensure that their gains are put outside the jurisdiction of the victim country and laundered to disguise their origins. "Clearly the problem is enormous. It is also clear that money laundering extends far beyond hiding drug profits. In the UK this is evidenced in the legislation that has been enacted to counter this crime. For example, confiscation and money laundering provisions are contained in the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 (DTOA), in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990. These provisions focus particularly on drug trafficking." 1
UK laws pertaining to money laundering
These laws address the issues of money laundering and financing terrorist outfits. In the UK, and also in other countries, these two have been recognized as very serious crimes. These two crimes greatly contribute to the globally ongoing unlawful activities of crimes that are organized by terrorist organizations and other criminals (Dayanath, 2003; Johnson, 2003). The scopes of these activities are difficult to gauge and the magnitude is unknown in the UK, since these activities are very secretive and enigmatic. The UK Government, however, has recently made moves to strengthen its laws and improve their ability to investigate these crimes on a global scale. 2
Two laws pertaining to Money Laundering were enacted in the UK in recent years since preventing money laundering and governing its legislation are relatively new concepts. With the 11/9 bombing that took place in New York these laws have become essential in containing these heinous crimes (Johnson, 2003). To put in very simple lay man terms, the UK law looks very strongly at those accused or even suspected of being involved in a money laundering racket. A person can be sentenced to 14 years in jail; what is significant here is that there can be no remission on this sentence. One cannot claim any kind of ignorance or coercion in this case and hence this cannot be treated as defence. Whether one likes it or not, if a person is aware that another person in an organization is guilty of money laundering of some sort, he or she is bound by law to report the same to the authorities.
Salient features of the law
Money laundering crimes are on the increase in the UK and hence these acts have come at the right juncture. It provides the general legal basis and framework