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Economic Coercion and Financial Crime

Transnational organized crime per the U.S. National Security Council is crucially aided and abetted by facilitators (e.g., accountants) and specialists (e.g., industry experts) for the purposes of

  • “… creating shell corporations, opening offshore bank accounts in the shell corporation’s name, and creating front businesses for their illegal activity and money laundering.” These legal fictions entirely lack a legitimate business purpose. They are created under the same legal authority as the legal fictions noted below. Ordinarily, one cannot observe or sense their perfidy without enhanced due diligence and financial investigation; i.e., they are not obviously bad actors.
  • “Business owners or bankers are enlisted to launder money, and employees of legitimate companies are used to conceal smuggling operations.” These corrupt agents for legal fictions have a partially legitimate business purpose. They are the white-collar criminals alluded to by Sutherland and later by others, who, while seeming of good repute, are actually of bad character. Detection of their Janus-like nature often demands sophisticated deep financial analyses by those expert in the domains of the facilitators and specialists used to create them.
  • Cf. Black and gray markets & dark pools. Transparency of principal and agent disclosure is commonly at issue, especially where one does not think so. Just as the markets of intellectual property may be tainted by fraudulent and false assertions, the enterprise model of TOC is a close cousin, if not brother, of the intelligence agency: Un- or partially acknowledged secrecy trumps (false or misleading) transparency as the operative principle required to get the job done.

In brief, the principals and agents substantially assisting in the commission of financial crimes are not adequately deterred by the threat and coercion of the state. Rather, they are coerced internally and/or externally by superseding motivations and causes. In one way or another these wrongdoers may rationalize their conduct through the concept of necessity; i.e., there was a transcendent private or public necessity making the wrongful act a desirable choice like the common ‘lesser of two evils argument.’ Other things being equal in the context of financial crimes, few would knowingly choose the more harmful act.

The ability to rationalize wrongful conduct, generally possessed by all, may be used to justify or excuse the wrong. Indeed, consequentialism is a powerful laundering ideology.

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