Stephen Platt’s book Criminal Capital is a must-read for anyone interested in the banking sector. However, do not expect an exposé of bankers’ bonuses and lifestyle; this book takes a hard look at all the serious crimes that attract vast sums of illegally obtained money.
This is then legitimised and moved across country boundaries with the assistance of corrupt lawyers, accountants and bankers. The damage to society is immense.
Mr Platt states that the current ‘risk analysis’ systems used and disclosures to law enforcement currently set up in banking institutions would not necessarily identify a terrorist unit – I totally agree. The finance and sums of money involved to provide logistics have proved to be on a smaller scale and would not be easily detected by the authorities.
It is the organised criminal amassing large sums of money that poses the greatest threat, as they require corrupt professionals to assist them in legitimising the illegally obtained money. They do this by investing, buying property or companies to feed cash into and therefore appear legitimate.
His premise is that law enforcement powers must be strengthened to enable them to strip every penny from those involved in money laundering. Seizure amounts in the UK are very disappointing and more work needs to be done to deter successful organised criminals. If all assets were seized, it would switch the onus of proof onto the criminal as to where they obtained these assets. If there was no proof of legitimate ownership, then the state would keep the assets and they could be used to fight organised crime and help victims. The level of proof should be civil and decided ‘on the balance of probabilities’.
The large sums of money ‘laundered’ through the banking system and the mind-bogglingly large fines against these institutions set out clearly by Mr Platt are a sobering thought for a concerned citizen. However, what really strikes home is the lack of convictions and action taken against the directors and/or board members of these institutions – remembering that some are publicly funded. Surely this sends a ‘one law for them and one law for us’ message to the general public.
I found Criminal Capital a fascinating and excellent book, thoroughly well-researched and brought together by Mr Platt. It really is a ‘must-read’ for law enforcement officers and private investigators who want to truly understand the scale of tainted money that is filtered into our banking system by organised crime.
Arnie Cooke is director at Aixa Limited. He is an ex senior detective