DRUG MONEY IS DIRTY. WHAT DOES "LAUNDERING" IT MEAN?
We can use money orders to send money overseas. Our overseas maximum is $1,500 The Hong Kong and Shanghai
Banking Corp. (HSBC, a British bank from colonial times) had a slightly
higher money maximum. It was billions.
BIG, RECTANGULAR BOXES OF CASH
HSBC's money came from Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Mexico, injected into the American
banking system (and into the global economy) illegally -- "laundering money". When
a bank in Mexico uses special boxes built to slide exactly through
tellers' windows in order to take in the volumes of cash that their
customers don't know how else to get rid of, you know it is drug
money (but of course, they did not know).
THE PARTICULAR STAINS WHICH MONEY LAUNDERING FIXES
If you are in the ruling family of a country, it may be easy to "ask"
the Treasury or national bank to move millions into another
account. If you rule a drug cartel, it will certainly be easy to
get millions, but it won't be in any account at all -- that's where the
big boxes shoved through the tellers' windows came in. Now both
political rulers and drug kings have big-balance bank accounts, but
there are two problems: 1) the money needs to be moved to an overseas
country where they want to buy their third home, second yacht, first
private jet. And 2) lots of moves to accounts seemingly not owned
by them ("off-shore accounts") need to be made to obscure where the
money came from, and who might need to pay taxes on it. Moving money
many times to obscure origin, ownership and tax liability is what money laundering is all about. In the end, cash
will flow through the hands of a prestigious person from a prestigious
bank, and everyone looks great.
It's hard work covering your trail. Over $800 million
of the Mexican dollars were documented well enough to prosecute the
bank, yet nobody
went to jail.
The ability of people with power to protect themselves from the law
means that "the rule of law" is broken. The society in
question runs on legal injustice. Using power to evade
the law is usually done to protect wealth. People with wealth
usually want three things: to protect the wealth they have, to acquire
more, and to preserve their ability to do whatever they wish with what
they have. The list does not usually include helping
Remember: $1,500 in money orders for you, and billions in laundered money for them with no jail time. These
white-collar criminals can move a million dollars through the international banking system for every dollar you
can move with money orders. They were never humiliated by arrest, never
forced to lose social rank. Being forced to lose social rank
for harming society is called accountability. A society which
does not hold those who harm it accountable is dysfunctional. If
those who have done the harm escape the accountability by giving large
sums of money to political people, and by giving large salaries to employ "retired" government people, then the
society is corrupt and dysfunctional.
A dysfunctional society that is also corrupt is harder to fix.
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.