[LINK] Net helps criminals: Vanstone
Thu, 01 Jun 2000 16:20:13 +1000
Bad Internet, naughty Internet, go away Internet
Net helps criminals: Vanstone
australianIT.com.au STAFF and AAP
CRIMINALS had new opportunities to launder dirty money thanks to the
Internet and e-commerce, Justice and Customs Minister Amanda Vanstone
"Cybercrime goes way beyond e-commerce," she told the Third Annual meeting
of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. "The big time criminals
don't carry the drugs or kill the victims - they pay others to do their
dirty work, but they do sit very close to the cash."
Senator Vanstone said the Internet made following the money trail more
complex, difficult and expensive for law enforcement agencies. "The
internet enables illicit funds to be transferred around the world at the
touch of a button, virtually without trace and without the criminal having
to put in a personal appearance," she said. "It makes life easier for drug
traffickers, under the counter arms dealers and other criminals."
Financial systems became more vulnerable to money laundering as they became
more electronically accessible, she said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that $US600 billion ($A1.05
trillion) is laundered annually from the proceeds of illegal drug
trafficking alone, she said. Senator Vanstone defended the government's
12-month ban on Internet gambling ... it took time she said, to plug the
electronic loopholes that criminals could exploit. She warned the 17
members from South Pacific nations that allowing money laundering invited
international criminals to corrupt financial and government systems.
Countries that allowed money laundering also could find themselves
economically and politically isolated. "We need to remember that money
laundered by organised crime represents the fruits of drug trafficking,
arms dealing, prostitution, trade in human beings, kidnapping and
extortion," Senator Vanstone said. "Tolerating these tainted funds means
tolerating the human misery that generated them in the first instance."
Large inflows and outflows of illicit funds could seriously destabilise
smaller financial systems and open their economies to attacks by organised
crime. She told reporters that laundered money added nothing to a nation's
GDP. "In fact (it) invites corruption of law enforcement agencies and of
governments and consequently can produce instability." She warned that
small nations were most at risk, but stressed there had been a "great
co-operative effort in Pacific to resist the crime".
Australia had strong anti-laundering legislation and financial tracking
capacity, but it was critical to remain vigilant because the criminals paid
for the best legal, accounting and technological advice, Senator Vanstone
What a wonderful day we've had. You have learned something and
I have learned something. Too bad we didn't learn it sooner.
We could have gone to the movies instead.
-- from Perfect Strangers