What initially attracted you to the world of financial crime prevention? What keeps you here now?
Until the 1980s, law enforcement agencies’ main policy was focusing on either revealing the crime or identifying the perpetrators of the crime.
However, no matter how better strategies were developed and how good operations were conducted, at the end of the operations, other organized crime groups were replacing the ones that disappeared.
Even though arrested organization members were serving some time in jail, they were spending their illegal gains (most of the time money) for the rest of their lives in prosperity.
Thus, serving the sentence was remaining as a small cost for them compared to their harm to both individuals and societies.
Furthermore, in most cases, only low-level members of criminal organizations were being punished while bosses were escaping from the justice system.
On the other hand, in victimless crimes (I am not sure if there is such a crime but at least it is stated in the literature), such as some type of corruption cases and white-collar crimes, criminals were also reaping the financial benefits of their crimes.
The justice most times couldn’t be served or wouldn’t be adequate enough compared to what the criminals deserved since there were no victims to follow their claims.
Having seen the above-mentioned situations and many others which couldn’t be mentioned, international initiatives, including by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), financial institutions, etc., urged governments and international bodies to take further steps in fighting criminals and criminal activities by targeting both motivation and source of criminal activities, which is money, rather than the crime itself.
According to a new concept, criminals would not be only punished for their wrongdoings but also their financial gains, the proceeds of crime from their illegal activities, which would be taken away from them by related authorities to better serve justice.
During this time period, some additional concepts were also introduced to legal systems, including the crime of money laundering.
Thus, in the meantime, those who are at the upper link of the criminal syndicates who couldn’t be related to the crime would be punished one way or another.
Although it is still under debate whether confiscation of proceeds of crime is punishment or preventive precaution, beyond these discussions, it is obvious that it is a serious deterrence from the criminal activity.
Therefore, I believe within the new concept of financial crime prevention policies, justice will be served more effectively, and crime-fighting policies will be more deterrent [by following the money, confiscating the assets bought with illicit finance and going after the leaders of organized criminal and corruption networks].
This is the reason why financial crime prevention attracted me.