Money laundering is a global practice and surely not something to be proud of. It is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime and integrating it into the legitimate financial system.
In simple terms, it is an act of disguising the authority by faking the origin of money that often comes from criminal activities and making it look like it was obtained from legal sources. To avoid being caught for criminal activities and not let the law-enforcement officials seize it, corrupt businessmen put their best efforts to make the money look.
How money laundering is being done globally? Money laundering is generally done in three stages: Placement– the initial entry of illicit money into the financial system. Layering – the process of separating the funds from their source, often using anonymous shell companies. Integration – the money is returned to the criminal from legitimate-looking source
Explaining money laundering by taking the example of the most wanted fraudster businessman for the United States—Tony Abi Saab, a Lebanon-native who deals in arms internationally through his company Brescia Middle East (BME). Apart from his main company BME, located in Lebanon, he also owns several anonymous shell companies like K5 Global, Brixia and G2Armory, and that do business deals with terrorist groups and supply guns and weapons to them.
In the first stage, Placement: Tony does arms and weapons business with the terrorists through his shell companies and obtains hard cash in return. The cash is then smuggled across borders and deposited in bank accounts. In the second stage, Layering: Tony wires the money to the accounts of BME or his other shell companies. He has appointed a trusted banker friend to handle the complicated accounts of his fake companies and look after the flow of money. In the final stage, Integration: The money is deposited in the bank accounts of the shell companies, and thus, making the illegal the cash obtained from criminal activities legal. In this way, Tony continues to maintain his vast illegal business empire without being caught by the legal authorities.