Anti-money laundering laws are hugely expensive and largely ineffective at their stated purpose.
Necessarily applying a broad brush, the current anti-money laundering policy prescription helps authorities intercept about $3 billion of an estimated $3 trillion in criminal funds generated annually (0.1 percent success rate), and costs banks and other businesses more than $300 billion in compliance costs, more than a hundred times the amounts recovered from criminals.
… If authorities recover around $3 billion per annum from criminals, whilst imposing compliance costs of $300 billion and penalizing businesses another $8 billion a year, it is reasonable to ask if the real target of anti-money laundering laws is legitimate enterprises rather than criminal enterprises.
That’s Ronald Pol from a new paper, Anti-money laundering: The world’s least effective policy experiment? Together, we can fix it.
I would add two elements. The anti-money laundering laws are also injurious to innovation in areas like cryptocurrency where privacy is a goal and there is no bank to fine or from which to demand paperwork. These laws are also a injurious to liberty as they essentially require banks to spy on their customers and report to the government and they are inconsistent with constitutional principles. The key AML laws really only date from the 1990s and should be scrapped rather than “fixed “(which I think is Pol being sly as he never suggests any real solutions.)