1st Edition

Lawyers and the Proceeds of Crime The Facilitation of Money Laundering and its Control

By Katie Benson Copyright 2020
    218 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The role played by legal professionals in the laundering of criminal proceeds generated by others has become a priority concern for authorities at national and international levels. This ground-breaking book presents an in-depth empirical analysis of the nature of lawyers’ involvement in the facilitation of money laundering and its control through criminal justice and regulatory mechanisms. It is based on qualitative research combining analysis of cases of lawyers convicted of money laundering offences with interviews with criminal justice practitioners, members of professional and regulatory bodies and practising solicitors, and analysis of relevant national and international legislative and regulatory frameworks.

    The book demonstrates the complex and diverse nature of lawyers’ involvement in laundering activity, and shows that their actions and the decisions they take must be understood in relation to the specific situational contexts in which they occur. It provides significant new insights into the criminal justice and regulatory response to professional facilitation of money laundering in the UK, raising questions about the effectiveness and appropriateness of the response and the challenges involved. The book develops a framework for future research and analysis in this area, and proposes a range of potential strategies for controlling the facilitation of money laundering.

    Lawyers and the Proceeds of Crime is essential reading for those researching money laundering, white-collar crime or organised crime, and for practitioners and policy makers concerned with preventing the facilitation of money laundering.

    1. Introduction;

    2. Money laundering and the anti-money laundering regime;

    3. Framing the research: ‘organised crime’ or ‘white-collar crime’?;

    4. The nature of ‘facilitation’: diversity, complexity and context;

    5. Opportunity and vulnerability: factors influencing lawyers’ involvement in money laundering;

    6. On the ‘borders of knowingness’: understanding complicity, knowledge and intent;

    7. Knowledge and suspicion in the legislative framework;

    8. Criminal justice and regulatory responses to the facilitation of money laundering;

    9. Understanding and controlling the facilitation of money laundering: a research and policy agenda;

    Appendix: convictions, disciplinary proceedings and sanctions;


    Katie Benson is Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University, where she teaches and researches in the fields of money laundering and organised, white-collar and financial crimes. Her current and recent research focuses on money laundering, anti-money laundering and the legal profession; (anti-)bribery and corruption in multinational businesses; the distribution of counterfeit alcohol; and the development of an alternative framework for the conceptualisation and analysis of money laundering. Dr Benson previously held roles within UK law enforcement and has worked with, or provided advisory/consultancy services to, various government bodies, law enforcement organisations, research institutions and investigations.

    The role of legal professionals in the laundering of criminal proceeds is widely acknowledged, while little empirical research has been done on this crucial node in money laundering schemes. In studies of money laundering, the role of lawyers gets lost between the research traditions of studying either white-collar crime or studying organized crime. This book fills that gap by offering the most complete and up to date account of the facilitation of money laundering. It connects upperworlds and underworlds by focusing on the lawyer as a modern day Charon, the mythical ferryman of the underworld.

    Wim Huisman, Professor of Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Given ongoing emphases on high-end money laundering, gatekeepers, and facilitators of money laundering, this timely book provides important new insights into money laundering, and anti-money laundering, in the legal profession. This book not only examines the AML regime and how lawyers launder proceeds of crime, it goes further by examining punishments following conviction. The book challenges entrenched views of (anti-)money laundering, and delivers important new insights based on original empirical research. I highly recommend it!

    Colin King, Reader in Law, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

    This is a commendably thorough and thoughtful analysis of identified money laundering by the legal profession in England and Wales (and to a lesser extent, around the world), and of barriers to criminal, regulatory and practical interventions against it.

    Michael Levi, Professor of Criminology, Cardiff University

    If you’re an individual or organisation generating significant finances from criminal activities and want to use this to purchase assets, you need to be able to conceal the criminal origins of the money, and legal professionals can help you do this. In this book, Benson empirically analyses and contextualises the opportunities for, and nature of, such criminal facilitation, and in doing so provides rich insights into the drivers and conditions that lead to these otherwise legitimate ‘white-collar’ actors laundering criminal proceeds on behalf of others.

    Nicholas Lord, Professor of Criminology, University of Manchester