FBI focuses on finding money laundering middlemen

Every year, more than $1.5bn in concealed transactions are purposefully moved around the globe, and about 20 per cent of those transfers occur in the US, says a new report.

The FBI says it has placed a renewed emphasis on investigations that target the middlemen who facilitate the hidden flow of cash, according to the US Department of the Treasury document, which focuses on money laundering and terrorist financing threats.

Money laundering is a necessary consequence of almost all profit-generating crimes - including counterfeiting - and can occur almost anywhere in the world. It is the process by which criminals conceal or disguise their proceeds and make them appear to have come from legitimate sources.

"Our focus is on third-party facilitators," said James Barnacle, who heads the FBI's Money Laundering Unit. "They include, among others, lawyers, accountants, and brokers with the ability to facilitate the process of moving money for dangerous criminal organizations. That's who our targets are."

To help combat this growing threat, the FBI says it has been boosting the resources available to the MLU, which operates within the agency's Criminal Investigative Division.

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