Coin-operated laundry

[Dave Birch] An article in last month’s Financial World (not available online) set me thinking. One of the key issues in designing new electronic payment systems is balancing the privacy of transaction counterparties (which may be a social good, even if neither of the counterparties cares one way or the other) with the legitimate requirements of law enforcement. But the article on Money Laundering says that the biggest recent boost to global money laundering is not hawala or pre-paid mobiles, but the euro. The fact that launderers can stuff 500 euro notes in their underpants, and zoom around Europe spending and depositing, helps them enormously.

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