First broadcast January 2006
Money laundering accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars every year, turning the proceeds of crime into apparently legal funds.
And, according to some studies, virtually none of the cash is ever traced by the authorities.
In a new three-part series, Michael Buchanan investigates the murky world of the money launderers. He discovers what happens to criminally acquired cash once the house is robbed, the drug sold, the bounty killed or the child traded, and how the proceeds of a crime are turned into legitimate funds.
Part One: Russia and the US
In the first of three programmes, he travels to Russia and the United States, asking how the laundrymen manage to get away with their crimes.
Along the way, he meets a former lawyer who used to launder money for drug dealers. He recalls how simple it was to turn up at a private airfield in Florida with a bag full of cash, fly out to a Caribbean island, deposit the money in a bank account and be back in Miami enjoying a cocktail before the sun went down.
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