Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to Launder Money and the "Rule of 72"

How dirty drug money is laundered internationally:
[From National Geographic, Vol.183, No.1 Jan.1993, pg105]
Titled: The Power of Money, by Peter T White, Asst. Editor,
quoting his sources as the "Center for International
Documentation of Organized and Economic Crime, located
in Cambridge, England.

[begin this section]
This as a real-life example:

A U.S. organized crime group with a lot of hot cash forms a cozy
relationship with the central bank of a British Commonwealth
country. Diplomats of that country carry the cash out of the
U.S. If it's $10,000 or more, they are supposed to report that
to U.S. Customs, but they don't; they "externalize" the cash.
It goes into the central bank and then into various dummy companies
in different countries in return for shares in those companies.
The money is thus "agitated," so it'll be just about impossible for
investigators to follow. Then, to "repatriate" the money, dummy
companies in the U.S. sell their worthless shares to investors in
Britain - who are in fact in on the scam - and behold, the money
is back in the U.S., clean! Now it buys legitimate businesses,
banks, political power.

An operation like this, involving highly placed officials, and
businessmen, will cost quite a bit, maybe 35 percent, but once
the system is in place, people will want to use it - not only
drug profiteers but also arms dealers, terrorist organizations,
intelligence agencies...

A prime haven for such shady customers was BCCI, the Bank of
Credit and Commerce International, headquartered in Luxembourg
and the Cayman Islands with branches in 72 countries. It is said
to have secretly controlled the First American Bank of Washington, D.C.
After BCCI collapsed in 1991, having defrauded depositors of several
billion dollars, it became known as the Bank of Crooks and
Criminal International.
[End, this section]

In the very next section, there is an interesting little number
used by the bank/finance crowds, it's number "72".

[begin this section]
- the rule of 72. No one is certain who first developed the rule,
but the principle is quite simple: Divide any number into 72 and
the answer tells how long it will take for a sum to double in
financial terms.

Are you charged 18 percent interest on the unpaid balance of your
credit card account? Eighteen goes into 72 four times - so the
debt would double in four years. Say your annual raise is 6
percent; that number goes into 72 twelve times, so in twelve
years your salary will double. The same holds true of any
investment. And what if inflation runs at 6 percent a year?
Then after a dozen years your money will be worth half as much,
so in a sense you'll be back where you started.
[end this section]

I wonder if the money-changers figured this into setting annual inflation rates!
Kind of keeps the middle class down, and stuck in a rut.

"We conclude that the Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities
for purposes of the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act), but are independent,
privately owned and locally controlled corporations"
Lewis v. U.S. F.2d (1982)