The exploitation of offshore financial centres: Banking confidentiality and money laundering

Mary Alice Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)



The paper aims to highlight the relationship between money laundering and banking confidentiality in offshore financial centres – particularly following the recent publicity and BBC expose surrounding the criminal use of offshore financial centres. It proposes that there has long been concern over the illegitimate uses of offshore financial centres and that the continuing exploitation of them by criminals is, in part, attributed to the West's use of these financial hotspots. The paper outlines the previous attempts by global regulatory bodies to curb money laundering in offshore financial centres and explores some of the reasons for the continuation of money laundering in offshore financial centres.


The paper was compiled by accessing and analysing primary and secondary data which is publicly available. The analysed data were complemented by the author's new theory of the West's collusion with offshore financial centres as a possible reason for the superficial commitment to anti‐money laundering laws and guidelines.


The findings in the paper conclude that even though there have been global efforts to combat money laundering in offshore financial centres, there is little commitment from the offshore financial centres themselves, and the West, to effectively implement anti‐money laundering regulations.


This paper fulfils a gap in the literature by exploring the relationship between the West and offshore financial centres – more specifically the West's continued use of these centres acts as an incentive to avoid relaxing tight banking confidentiality laws. Further research in this area is needed to assess the full impact of the West's relationship with offshore financial centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-208
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Money Laundering Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jul 2013


  • Banking
  • Banking confidentiality
  • Banking secrecy
  • Confiscation
  • Money
  • Money laundering
  • Offshore financial centres


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