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Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML)
Updated on:
July 19, 2023

Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML)

Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML) is a form of money laundering that involves the manipulation of trade transactions to conceal the origin of illicit funds and integrate them into the legitimate financial system.

  • TBML utilises trade transactions to disguise illegal proceeds
  • Methods include over- or under-invoicing, multiple invoicing, and falsely describing goods or services
  • Trade-Based Money Laundering is difficult to detect due to the complexity and volume of international trade
  • Requires cooperation between financial institutions, regulators, and law enforcement agencies to combat effectively

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Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML) is a sophisticated technique used by criminals and criminal organisations to integrate illegal proceeds into the formal financial system by manipulating the value, volume, or type of commodities involved in trade transactions. This process often takes advantage of the complex nature of international trade, which can make it challenging for authorities and financial institutions to detect and prevent.

There are various methods employed in TBML, including over- or under-invoicing of goods and services, multiple invoicing of the same transaction, and falsely describing the nature or value of the goods being traded. These tactics enable criminals to transfer value across borders and legitimise illicit funds without raising suspicion or alerting regulatory authorities.

The fight against TBML requires a coordinated effort between financial institutions, regulators, and law enforcement agencies. Financial institutions must be vigilant in identifying and reporting suspicious trade transactions. This can be achieved through robust risk management processes, customer due diligence, and transaction monitoring. By working together, these organisations can help to detect and disrupt TBML activities, ultimately safeguarding the integrity of the financial system.

In conclusion, Trade-Based Money Laundering is a significant risk to the financial services sector and the broader economy. It is essential for financial services organisations to be aware of TBML and take proactive steps to identify, report, and mitigate the risks associated with this form of money laundering. Close cooperation between financial institutions, regulators, and law enforcement agencies is crucial in the ongoing battle against TBML and the criminal activities it facilitates.

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