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Last updated at 11:21 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

News Words: Money laundering


The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: money laundering


Clare Arthurs on: money laundering

Vocabulary of money and crime

a ransom

money that is asked to be paid to release a person, people or property which has been kidnapped or hijacked

Somali pirates have been fighting over a huge ransom paid to free a Greek-owned oil tanker ... (BBC News)


the crime of paying someone to do something illegal for your benefit

BAE Systems' settlement with the UK and US authorities over wrongdoing closes a chapter in a long-running saga over whether the company was involved in bribery and corruption ... (BBC News)


the crime of demanding that someone pays you money and, if they don't pay, you will make embarrassing information about that person public

A man who hatched a blackmail plot against a Norfolk businessman has been jailed for four years. Judge Simon Barham said blackmail was "the ugliest and most vicious crime". (BBC News)

tax evasion

using illegal means not to pay tax

News of the theft comes as the US and some countries in Europe try to crack down on tax evasion through the use of overseas accounts. (BBC News)

A challenge for you

There are many forms of financial crimes. Do you think crimes like tax evasion and money laundering are as serious as crimes of violence such as robbery?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and try to use some of the vocabulary from this page.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Ahmet, Turkey
I also agree that money laundering is so serious crime and it is neccesary to investigate it very carefully. But what is the reason of to be a very important crime. As we know that may Crime and Terrorist organizations are using this way to launder their money to use them legally and it causes and after that process thay can do what ever they want with this big amount of money in their illegal activity. That's way it is one of the most important issue for not only Police departmant but also for inteligence department.

Alexandre, Brasil
In my country we have several crimes like tax evasion and money laundering. The politicans in my country never arrested. I ashamed when I see some report like this. Becouse I know this money should be used to help people. If we have problens with tax evasion and money laundering we have problens with violence, one thing is linked to another.

Song Eun Ji, South Korea
I don't think crimes like tax evasion and money laundering are as serious as crimes of violence such as robbery and kidnapping which mostly require ransom.Crimes of violence can't be compared with those crime related to getting money.Crimes like robbery and kidnapping lead to death of people.Some problems that affect our economy is also very important but I think police and the government should make more effort to solve violent crimes than financial crime.

Joyce, Taiwan
There is no doubt but the criminal action if someone commit tax evasion or money laundering. However, it is difficult to judge whether criminals are guilty, Because people like politicians, business mans, or even mafia earn money illegally and hide their money in oversea countries which can provide secret bank account such as Cayman Islands, Switzerland etc., Therefore, these people as financial criminals remain out of the law's reach although how they are detestable.

Lurii, Ukraine
My country has different opportunity to be really strong and prosperity. But people who has some power in my country specially bureaucrats support many forms of financial crimes. Thats why we have nearly 60% Ukrainian economics in dark. Rad tape, corruption, bribes, fictitious bankruptcy, tax evasion, money laundering etc. is odenary process in Ukraine.

Muhammad, UK
Tax evaders demages the country economy, robbery and ransom money effect the public economy and bribery effect the social system.So simple answer is "safe our country if country economy in good position then other problems automatically solve"

Abdul, Shukoor India
In my opinion the heinous acts like tax evasion and money laundering are more serious crimes than other kinds of crimes. For it is as same as cheating the whole public and the country itself, on the contrary, violence or robbery would target only a person or further a section of people.

Dara, Cambodia
Yes i thinks so ,there are many form of financial crimes.Money get from tax will bring to develop country, so if have tax evasion in country,it is a part not cooperation with goverment for develop country.Money laundering it can effect contry law.The side effect for such crimes is that rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer.

Michel, D.R. Congo
In DRC, the most common practices are ; tax evasion and bribery which are sometimes done with the complicity of some civil servants and officials.That is why our coutry is listed among the most corrupted countries. Financial crimes are committed all the time at different levels and there is no sanction. About Money laundring, this is often done by foreigners coming from Asia who are doing business in our country.

Naoki, Japan
With no question or doubt am I firmly convinced that such financial crimes as tax evasion and money laundering are as serious as crimes of violence.First of all,I have confirmed that money laundering is the process in which to hide the way money has been earned illegally.It is the same as the criminal action of stealing something and try to clean up evidence.And this means is,I think,the same as robbery in that money is stolen.Importantly,there are victims of this selfish action just as there are victims of the violent crimes like robbery.And as for the tax evasion,we are equally obligated to pay tax by the government,which should also be made one of our obligations by the constitution.And yet,using illegal means not to pay tax is against the constitution.If we allow such illegal means not to pay tax to exist,there will be a disorder. Hence,I think that money laundering and tax evasion are serious and are to be soon done away with.

Igor, Russia
Evasion from taxes, in the country which uses taxes not for the good of the citizens, and the defensible phenomenon is faster it to the detriment. When tax loading becomes the mechanism of intended bankruptcy of the companies, and tax inspection the tool of corruption influence evasion from unreasonable taxes becomes norm.

Deepu, India
These acts are far more serious than robbery because tax evasion and money laundering allows the individuals to fill their pockets by cheating on the government.This will result in the decrease in the revenues earned by the government through tax.Also, the side effect for such crimes is that rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer.

Phirum, Cambodia
I think these acts are as serious as robbery. Why? The reasons are:1. tax evasion is commited in order to lower the amount of tax to be paid. To do this may benefit the personal individual or a small group of people at the expense of the larger population. As the tax fund is used by government to develop the country for a better life of a whole population. 2 Money laudering is committed by converting the dirty money into clean money. Dirty money are come from mostly criminal activities such as corruption, bank robbery, kidnapping, illegal traficking like drug, human, weapon etc. And even worse, the fund from money laundering may use to finance the terrorist activities.

Hamid, Bangladesh.
It is more disgraceful for the nation when there are financial crimes like tax evasion & money laundering etc.Both of them are more and more dangerous in the economic development or economic growth for any developed or underdeveloped country.If any country posses this situation, there must be harmful conditions and the index of economic growth will be lower.In fine, it can be said that financial crimes cannot bring the benefit for any country.

Hani, Saudi Arabia
In my opinion, the financil crimes sometimes could be far more serious than other crimes like murder, robbery and rape. Money laundry, for example, involves many different kinds of crime such as drugs smuggling, prostitution and blackmail, which can lead to the economic crisis all over the world. In addition, bribery and tax evasion lead to corruption, breaching countries' rule.

Thomas, France
I think this is a quite difficult issue : in a way, crimes such as tax evasion or bribery are serious frauds, for you can't win an enormous sum instantly and legally... except at lottery.To my mind, money laundering represents utter disrespect for the people who often have to work hard to earn decent wages. Especially when these swindlers do not need all this illegal money to live.However, by comparison, financial crimes are bad for safe society in general, whereas crimes of violence hurt the individual himself.That is why, in my opinion, violence is a greater problem than money laundering (even though sometimes both can combine), as the first one hits your body and the second one hits your change purse.

Laura, Italy
Financial crimes in Italy seems to be the law..Every day we read and hear about scandals throughout financial and politics world(from bribery to tax evasion with no exceptions for blackmailing..) envolving both right and left wings.This kind of crimes has a sort of "old fashioned" tradition, whose roots are deeply placed into the Unification of Italy(but that's such a long story!)The problem here is to find out if there are more robberies and kidnappings or financial crimes, and in both cases, to decide whether is worst having a corrupted politic leadership which coincides most of the times with financial leadership damaging State's wealth, Democracy and Morals, or if we should wonder why do robbery and violent crimes happens and grow, if not for desperation and lack of jobs and whatever can be brought by a non-exemplary leadership.If only tax evaders started to pay, the income would cover all the robber financial problems and the setting up of a social program to help control violence. But this sounds more like a fairy tale. I hope the other g8 states are not like us.

Mohammed, Sudan
I think the financial crimes are more serious than violence crimes because these type of crimes target the public benefit and country economy

Tom, Sweden
Many people say that tax evasion is a serious crime, and it is in way because the goverment needs monney from taxes to finance different things in the society. But rather then just talk about how bad it is and such stuff, maybe you should think of the reasons why tax evasions exists. One reason could be that the taxes are way to high, if the taxes would be lowered I think that more people would pay them. There will be probably come in more money to the goverment if they lower that taxes and more people pay them, instead of having high taxes and less people paying them. I think many rich people try to avoid paying high taxes, and if the start paying instead of using tax evasion, they would contribute alot.

Kajsa, Sweden
In my opinion money laundering is as serious as crimes of violence. Because the money laundering often finance the drug dealing. The drug dealing is a big problem in the world.So if we could stop the money laundering maby it would stop the increasing of drugs. There is many drugaddicts ant they are often criminal to. So everything will lead to more violence in the society.

Sara, Sweden
I think that the money problems are to big in our world. Shouldn't we focus more on violence crime. I sometimes feel like the police thinks it's more important with money than rapes or kidnapping.

Emelie, Sweden
In my opinion all crimes are serious. There are laws for a reason and the law should be followed no matter how serious the crime is. But if someone gets hurt or even killed I think violence is worse than money laundering and tax evasion.

Zeyneb, Sweden
I would probably say that money laundering isn't as bad as crimes of voilence and rubbery. But it's still a crime and no one should get away with it. The reason I think that money laundering isn't so dangerous is that no one is hurt by it, and it's done in secret. Well, maybe the society will be worried and the economy will go down, but isn't it better than having someone killed? The only thing I can say is that I could never imagine myself do something like that, because my bad conscience after that would never go away.

Hedda, Sweden
I think the police here in Sweden should spend more time on crimes like rapes. Because some girls are very scared of going home alone when it's dark. It should not be the girl that stays home, it should be the one who rapes the girl that should stay home!

Tobias, Sweden
In what way are money laundering and tax evasion worse than robbery? You don't physicallly hurt hurt a person by evading taxes, if they have so much money that they don't realize that everyone haven't payed their taxes then it's not that serious. But if you mug someone you might hurt them physically and you hurt them mentally because they get shocked.

Selina, China
I think it's very difficult to compare tax evasion and money laundering with robbery. comparison needs to base on its our country, our government has strict law to treat financial criminal. mostly, if the case is badly affect to the public, the criminal would be given death penalty.unfortunately, we still have a lot of crimes such as bribery ,tax evasion, blackmail ,etc. happening more often than not, although they even know they would face death penalty.

Gong JaeWon, S.Korea
A financial crime include money laundering, ransom, bribery, tax evasion is not direct threaten to us as robbery. But, the financial crime is done organized and made big crime group. A robber can hurt a few people but the financial criminal do to group of people or society.More policemen can reduce robbery but not financial crime. To do so, it is required much of social money and more strong rules and laws. It can be said that the robbery is as a scars on the body, the financial crime is as a deep cancer.

Billy, Mexico
My mother worked as an accountant for a real estate company in my hometown in Mexico. She said to me that tax evasion was a very common practice in her work. Event though her boss was incredibly rich, he didn't want to pay taxes. That's one of the reasons why Mexico doesn't have enough revenues to develop the country. I believe these kind of practices like money laundering or tax evasion should be considered as serious as robbery since they obstruct the healthy development of a society

Lyuba, Russia
I think that all forms of financial crimes are really serious and should be judged as the other types of the crimes, such as violence, stealings and so on. When people commit financial crimes they actually steal money from the country. As the result, in Russia we have the deficit of budget, medical and social areas are not developed. The quality of live is very low.

Graciela, Argentina
I think there is a scale of crimes in order to their gravity. On the other hand, every kind of crime should be punished according to the gravity of the offence. Financial crimes are very serious indeed, and in many cases people's lives are at stake when a crime like money laundering is the result of drug trafficking.

Masahiko, Japan
I do not concur with the opinion, because the crimes regarding money or tax such as tax evasion and bribery do not afeect public except fot business people too much, but really the crimes concerned violence suca as arson and murder. In Japan, public people do not become so emotional about money laundering.

Roro, Taiwan
I lived in Taiwan. Our ex-president is suspected due to bribery.As my thought, the economic crimes are more seriouse than crimes of violence usually.As for economic crimes, it could make lots of money loss from the umpteen people. It may take lots of effort to recover the damage which is caused.

Helga, Russia
I guite agree with the previous stories. All kinds of financial trickery are mean. In my counry it is a common thing. You can do nothing without bribing some officials. Even in hospinal you're asked to pay to have an urgent help. Our children can't go to kindergarden without gribbing the director's palm. I'm not pessimistic at all. There are a lot of honest people in the World! Let's be ones!

Tienhoa, Vietnam
Using illegal ways to earn money such as money laundering, tax evasion, robbery so on are criminal activities because they are not only declining to develop the state's economy but also causing social unrest. On the one hand, such crimes are serious and need preventing. On the other hand, in my view, the money laundering and tax evasion are more dangerous than robbery because both of them are more likely to be done in secret ways that it is difficult to realize and investigate while the robbery often uses a violent way to collect money, being easy to recognize and overpower it.

Misako, Japan
Although we usually do not notice the bad effect of financial crimes on us, we should concern about serious situations of financial crime committed by crime organizations. To carry out big and serious crimes constantly and successfully, crime organizations need a large amount of money to hire and educate people and keep organizations working properly as well as to do business in dealing in illegal weapons and drags beyond borders. Unless we stop their sources of money from financial crimes, such as money laundering and tax evasion, crime organization can continue to take illegal actions which cause serious damage directly to our normal life.

Abdul Sattar, United Kindom
Financial crimes often involve fraud like bank account fraud, fraud against property, credit card fraud,currency fraud etc. Tax evasion and money laundering are very common types of crime today. crimes such as drug trafficking. Tax evasion and money laundering are as serious crimes as any other kind of crime. Often the political personalities of money nations are involve in these types of crime. The people who are in power and have money and resources are involved in money laundering. Every country should have strict law against these crime and these should be eradicated from the society. The media can play key role in this case.If steps are taken against these crimes ,this world can be crime free.

Renato, Brazil
Yes, in my opinion tax evasion and money laundering are as serious as crimes of violence such as robbery. Sometimes they are even worst, like when there is a fraud in a public shopping and the money is "washed", and the needed people do not receive the good or the service as it was to be. In Brazil, unfortunetilly, is usual to say that someone cheated the Treasure beyond tax evasion. And the cases of blackmail between politicians ocupy the news frequently.

Kamran, Pakistan
I am student of MBA.In our country Pakistan crime rate are increasing day by day and money loundering is also one of the big crime & sorry to say that we have also facing this problam.In every kind of business money loundering is a big problam for my country

Hamadoun Alassane, Mali
I think robbery is a serious crime like all these forms of financial crime as tax evasion and money laundering

Jose Daniel, Venezuela
I think the money laundering is a crime such as bribery, blackmail, tax evasion, etc. Generally criminals and delinquents commit these crimes together and It's making for illegal reasons and move a lot of money. The drug trafficking is an example of money laundering in that selling prohibited substances which human consumption destroy live. The drug trafficking generate wealth because drugs are illegal and it sell to high price. After the money is laundering and put in banks. It's the way of finance this activity. In that process drug dealers use the bribery. The Drug trafficking actuality is using worldwide for terrorist groups. They sell drugs with its wealth finance terrorist activities and attacks such as in India, Colombia, UK, Spain, Pakistan, etc. It has implicit money laundering, bribery, and in many case blackmail and ransom. Also is common practice tax evasion because a lot of people is disagree with the governments and they say I prefer put the tax money in charity causes that in government administrator. It's no justified because everybody should pay taxes. All these activities should penalize in all countries.

Azza, Egypt
I used to live in the USA for long time i am back to my home country egypt many things changed in our society new company names comes to and new businessman you don't where and when they started and i heared mony laundring every day and every time. helping NGO, building, projects, schools, hospitals, big subdivision, and extra........... before it was local laundring but now it is from outside the country

Thierry, France
Periodically, the front page of newspapers relates money laundering or tax evasion. When these crimes are followed by a trial, it's not before a long time. Money launderers are so wealthy that they can afford the best lawyers. Consequently in many cases the judicial pursues are often abandoned.Furthermore, there isn't a political will to tackle these crimes. Unfortunately, it's more easy, less expensive and less dangerous to condemn robbers and punish car drivers.

Gustavo, Brazil
I think crimes like blackmail, a ransom and bribery are very serious. About fifteen years ago was very commom in Brazil the act of kidnap people. Nowadays they follow and kidnap people to take money in banks(cash machines). Doesn't matter if you are rich or not...they want your money. In my opnion it is a cowardice.


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