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Title: An examination of the means of establishing the efficacy of asset recovery and anti-money laundering policies
Author: Fleming, Matthew Hitchcock
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 8518
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Asset recovery (AR) refers to the process through which criminals are deprived of the proceeds of crime. Despite strong support for AR in the policy arena, virtually no work to date has confirmed that it reduces (or should theoretically reduce) crime. This thesis seeks to fill this gap in understanding. The thesis begins with an examination of the theoretical support for AR, drawing on the economics of criminal behaviour. This chapter probes the claims made throughout the literature, illustrating how different approaches to AR should have different impacts on crime. AR powers are likely ineffective in reducing crime if offenders' spending/saving behaviour renders them with little to recover. This next chapter examines offenders' spending/saving using data from the UK's Joint Assets Recovery Database. Offenders can and will take steps to hide the fruits of their labours, and AR will be toothless if offenders can do so. Most AR regimes include anti-money laundering (AML) components to prevent offenders from hiding their proceeds. The crime-reduction efficacy of AML policies is a function of the ability of offenders to reduce their exposure to AR of banks/etc. to alert law enforcement when they know/suspect that an offender is laundering and of law enforcement to make use of the information provided. The latter two issues are considered in turn. Banks/etc. must alert law enforcement (by filing suspicious activity reports, or SARs) if they know/suspect that an offender is laundering proceeds. While this requirement likely deters some criminality, reporting does not deter all offenders. This chapter explores whether banks/etc. targeting of laundering represents more signal than noise. Finally, as the criminality of the undeterred who have been identified by banks/etc. will only be reduced if law enforcement uses the SARs sent to them, the final chapter explores the law enforcement's actual use and management of SARs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available