White-collar crime
A type of crime generally seen as non-violent or involving more sophisticated “business-related” schemes rather than violence or the threat of violence. Such crimes include tax fraud (evasion, false tax returns, failure to file tax returns), money laundering (any attempt to hide money derived from illegal sources), bribery, bankruptcy fraud, environmental fraud, health care fraud and many others.
Willful Blindness
Legal principle that operates in money laundering cases in the U.S. and is defined by courts as the “deliberate avoidance of knowledge of the facts” or “purposeful indifference.” Courts have held that willful blindness is the equivalent of actual knowledge of the illegal source of funds or of the intentions of a customer in a money laundering transaction.
Wire Transfer
Electronic transmission of funds among financial institutions on behalf of themselves or their customers. Wire transfers are financial vehicles covered by the regulatory requirements of many countries in the anti-money laundering effort.
Wolfsberg Group
Named after the castle in Switzerland where its first working session was held, the Wolfsberg Group is an association of global financial institutions, including Banco Santander, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Chase, Société Générale and UBS. In 2000, along with Transparency International and experts worldwide, the institutions developed global anti-money laundering guidelines for international private banks. Since then, it has issued several other guidelines on correspondent banking and terrorist financing, among others. See www.wolfsberg-principles.com.
World Bank
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries. It is not a bank in the usual sense, but is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 184 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Both organizations provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries. In 2002, the IMF and the World Bank launched a 12-month pilot program to assess countries’ anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. The World Bank and the IMF, in conjunction with FATF, developed a common methodology to conduct such assessments based on the FATF’s 40 Recommendations. See www.worldbank.org.