How do builders mobilize black money

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Type: Article, Main topic: Security

The pursuit of maximum profit is the basic motivation of organized crime. Therefore, effective and concerted action against money laundering and the collection of the debts are central in the fight against organized crime.

Source: picture alliance / Ulrich Baumgarten

The aim of combating money laundering is to prevent perpetrators from giving illegally generated money the appearance of legality. You shouldn't be able to use it for everyday business.

The fight against money laundering has a repressive side, which is about catching and punishing the perpetrators. There is also a preventive side. Just reporting suspicious cases is intended to increase the transparency of financial flows and prevent them from being obscured.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is the smuggling of illegally generated funds into the legal financial and economic cycle. Money laundering is a criminal offense. The Criminal Code criminalizes money laundering in Section 261 (1) with imprisonment of up to five years.

How does money laundering work?

Drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal gambling, arms trafficking and corruption are the main areas of activity of organized crime. Criminals earn large sums of "dirty money" with them. These are "washed clean" by the crime of money laundering. For example, they are channeled through different accounts and companies.

In the end, it is no longer possible to tell where the money is coming from and to whom it actually belongs. The money can be used in normal business transactions, for example to purchase real estate or other goods. At the end of a "successful" money laundering operation, for example, nobody can understand that the house in city A belongs to person XY and was financed with money from drug trafficking in city B.

Internationally operating networks

Money laundering is a cross-border, international phenomenon. The globalization of financial markets has made money laundering methods more complex. Tracking and containing illegal transactions are also more difficult.

That is why cooperation with European and international partners is of key importance. On the one hand, this concerns cooperation in specific cross-border investigative proceedings. On the other hand, it is important to create common standards for combating money laundering. These were established both at EU level and worldwide by the "Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering".

Preventive measures

external linkMoney Laundering Act (GwG)

to the legal text

The Money Laundering Act is preventive. It obliges certain groups of people, such as financial service providers, to exercise particular care and supervision. This is intended to identify suspected money laundering cases as early as possible.

An important approach to combating money laundering, for example, is to prevent anonymous economic transactions. Therefore banks and insurance companies, but also real estate agents, casinos and goods dealers are obliged to identify their business partners. They must report suspicious transactions or business relationships to the competent authorities.

Financial agents - reluctant helpers?

The regulations are also important for so-called financial agents. These are people who make their private account available for money laundering-related transactions. In return for a commission, they pass on incoming amounts to backers abroad or other financial agents.

Often these are (unsuspecting) citizens who are misused by money launderers for their own purposes. Financial agents face fines for money laundering. Advertisements in newspapers or on the Internet looking for business partners are particularly suspicious. These are often supposed to provide their account and contact details for a high commission.

You can find more information about combating money laundering on the website of the Federal Criminal Police Office. You can find more about financial agents at