This is an ideal resource for corporate counsel who are beginning risk assessment exercises, writes Eduardo Reyes.

The importance of money laundering to policymakers and regulators has grown significantly in recent years, as both struggle to keep pace with organised crime and, in particular, its links to such issues as the funding of terrorist activities. Tight public finances, the authors of International Guide to Money Laundering Law and Practice note, have further focused the attention of governments on this area, as they seek to maximise the collection of tax revenues.

This is the fourth edition, and there is plenty to cover since last edition, including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines on ‘politically exposed persons’, and fresh legislation from Brazil to New Zealand – a breadth that the general editors, all lawyers at global law firm Baker & McKenzie, are well placed to commission contributions on. Among the authors, Baker & McKenzie lawyers predominate, though for key offshore jurisdictions there are contributions from specialist offshore firms like Carey Olsen and Appleby. Accountants also cover some points.

There is a slight UK bias to the guide, with the first five chapters covering the UK (by contrast, the US has 50 pages). But the rest of the book, organised by jurisdiction, opens with an overview from Baker & McKenzie’s London-based Mark Simpson. Simpson sets out the international rules and initiatives that go some way to explaining the relationship between the selected country profiles that follow.

This is a vast area, and the information is not exhaustive. But the scene-setting in each chapter is well done, and annex tables offer a clear guide. The use of ‘conclusion’ and ‘the future’ sections at the end of most chapters make this text an ideal resource for corporate counsel who are beginning risk assessment exercises, or facing an unexpected investigation. A small point, but the use of footnotes in the guide is a far better choice than the alternative option of end notes.  

Covering the amount of ground the guide does will have its frustrations for some practitioners – though in a world where money flows so freely between jurisdictions, any attempt to capture the challenge of multi-jurisdictional work should be welcomed.

Authors: Arun Srivatava, Mark Simpson, Nina Moffat

£225, Bloomsbury Professional

Eduardo Reyes is commissioning and features editor of the Gazette