Archive | Blogging

Blogging For Small Business – How to Build Your Reputation

Blogs have taken the internet by storm. More and more people are setting up blogs, and in the most part they die off within their first year, before they pick up any momentum. Most people set up blogs to build their reputation, sell products and get traffic to sell ads.

Although blogs have been around for a while, many small businesses are still not taking advantage of all the benefits a small business blog can provide to your bottom line.

  • Creates awareness about your service / product

Many businesses have great, innovative products – especially in the technology sector. A major problem small businesses run into is getting the word out about their product on a small marketing budget. Creating a blog will create awareness about your product and extremely drive sales.

  • Builds your reputation as a subject matter expert

If you are an expert in your field, it is very beneficial to write about what you do and how you do it. The quality of your content is key. It may seem counter-intuitive to give away your "secrets" – however most people will find your articles because they are not the experts and are looking to learn.

  • Strengthens your Search Engine Optimization strategy

The better quality articles you write, the more likely it is that other people will link to your articles. Link popularity is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Additionally, with correct code structure, you can create an internal cross linking strategy that will drive your PageRank higher.

These are some of the benefits of blogging for small business. Setting up a blog is very cheap, often times free ( or ) and all you have to risk is your time.

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How Do I Start Affiliate Marketing? 4 Key Steps

Now that you know that affiliate marketing is a very profitable online business, it's time to take the first step, or rather the first 4 steps.

In this article I will explain the 4 major steps you should take. They are things I wish I had done from the beginning. I hope it'll save you some time. Indeed, as affiliate marketing is not rocket science, you can easily be overwhelmed and get stuck in a routine of ineffective actions.

So, let's get started, shall we?

For all of you who are asking "How Do I Start Affiliate Marketing?", I'd like to give you a first bonus advice: KISS. Yes, Keep It Simple Stupid (or Keep It Simple and Straightforward, as you want)! In a word, keep in mind that affiliate marketing is a simple scheme with logical principles. Do not look for complications that may slow you down.

What are the 4 Key Steps I have To take?

1) Find a product to promote and find a niche to promote that product to. The product can be physical (an object) or virtual (an ebook). For physical objects, you can create an affiliate account with Amazon. For virtual products, you can do the same with

How do I start affiliate marketing? By learning to target, target, target. Do not go for a broad niche, it's a waste of time. Narrow it down. If you promote a weight loss product, target women wanting to lose their double chin before their wedding rather than … just overweight women. You can pick even more targeted niches with products for a small but hungry group of people.

2) Build a website or blog (using WordPress) or just a lens (on about the product (s) you're promoting. Give valuable content. Do not push people to buy. Write in the first person but do not talk too much about yourself, talk about your readers, what the product you're promoting can bring to THEM. It's all that really matter to them. Be friendly, write as if you were writing to a friend, use your personality. Oh, and put pictures too. People love them!

3) Build a list (with if you have your own website or blog. Give something of value to your visitors in exchange for their email address. So that you'll build a list of subscribers that are potential buyers. Contact them by email (like a newsletter) from time to time. They probably did not buy the first time they saw the product (s) you are promoting so it's an opportunity to promote to them by email. Find the right balance between free valuable content and promotion. Remember they can unsubscribe at any time. Make them stay. I learned that pretty late. I wish someone had told me "Build a list!" when I first asked "How do I start affiliate marketing?"!

4) Drive traffic to your website with PPC advertising (ads on Google) or article marketing (write and post articles targeting keywords that people search a lot and put a link to your website at the bottom of each article).

These 4 steps are essential and I think they provide a short good answer to "How Do I Start Affiliate Marketing?". Do things at your own pace but DO them. The lack of consistency will be your worst enemy. Break the all thing down in simple daily tasks and stick to them.

Is That Really All It Takes?

No. Creepy, right? I'm kidding, doing these 4 steps are a sure way to get started without wasting time. Of course, there are other affiliate marketing aspects and things to know but just like any business or any activity, you'll learn them in situation.

Do not worry if you come across something you do not know yet. Keep a clear mind and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the fancy words and different techniques you'll hear about. Remember that your mindset is also a very important part of the success you can get as an affiliate marketer.

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Various Types of Weightlifting Grips

There are so many different styles of grips to remember in the gym. Overhand, underhand, hook, false, alternate, wide and close. What are they and what are they useful for?


Overhand is when your palms are facing away from you when gripping the bar. Overhand grip is used mostly when doing back exercises like chin ups, lat pull down or barbell row and it is also used when doing bicep exercises like reverse curls. When using the overhand grip you are also working the wrist extensor muscles (muscles on top of the forearm) especially when doing reverse curls.


Underhand grip is when your palms are facing towards you on certain exercises. Underhand is used mostly when doing bicep exercises such as barbell bicep curls and reverse grip chin-ups. It can also be used to do back exercises such as reverse grip barbell row and underhand lat pull down. The only down side to using the underhand grip when doing back is it does get the biceps pretty involved when lifting the weight.


Hammer grip is mainly used when doing bicep curls but may also be used when doing chin ups. Hammer grip is when the palms of your hand are facing each other. When using a hammer grip the wrist extensors are involved a lot more due to how the wrist is positioned. The only negative aspect with hammer grip is if you have weak wrist extensors they will fatigue before your biceps. Therefore do hammer grip as last exercise in your routine.


Alternate grip is when one hand is under and one hand is over (usually strong hand over weak hand under.) Alternate grip is rarely used in the gym but is primarily used when doing deadlifts and maybe chin-ups. The theory is when using an alternate grip (especially with the deadlift) is that the trainer can lift a lot more weight.


The false grip is a pretty common grip mostly when doing bench press. I don’t know why trainers tend to use this grip due to the fact that it is the most dangerous grip to use. Normally when gripping the bar with bench press you wrap your thumb around the bar and rest the bar in the palm of your hand. A false grip is slightly different, instead of wrapping your thumb around the bar you rest your thumb along the bar (like your giving a sideways thumbs up.) The danger with this is that there is nothing stopping the bar from rolling off the palm of your hand and land on your chest. I recommend using a false grip on machine exercises only.


Hook grip is used mostly when doing power cleans, snatch and maybe when doing deadlifts. To do a Hook grip you wrap your thumb around the bar and with your index, big and ring finger you pin your thumb to the bar. This helps hold the bar in place when doing power exercises like the clean and jerk. The only negative aspect of the hook grip is if you’re not used to it then you will probably end up losing a lot of skin off your thumb at first.


A wide grip is a grip that is wider than shoulder width. When using a wide grip for a bench press you are minimising the amount of tricep involvement and maximising the chest involvement. When doing a wide grip bicep curl you are involving more the inner (short) head of the bicep. Wide grip chin ups involves a lot more bicep than lats. It all depends on what you want to do and what your goals are.


When using a close grip (like the wide grip) you are using slightly different muscles. Close grip bench press minimises chest involvement and maximises the tricep involvement. Close grip lat pull down minimises back and maximises bicep and wrist extensor involvement. Close grip bicep curl works the outer head of the bicep more than the short head.

As you can see there are so many different styles of grips to become familiar with when working out in the gym. I hope this report has given you a few pointers on what they do and what exercises they are good for and what the differences are.

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4 Convenient Workout Routines For the Aged

As we age, we have higher tendencies of getting weak quickly and our tolerance drops down. But the mature crowd has coped with the evolving fitness world. Men and women who are in their 50's to 70's are also learning the secrets of building up and getting strong.

Who says working out is exclusively for the young generation? It's either an understatement or an assumption that does not make sense. Exercising is for everyone regardless of age only that the intensity and strength level the mature or so-called boomers undertake is a bit less intense than the ones in their 20's to 40's.

Fitness does not make a biggie about age here. It's even a great concern to encourage fiftyish to seventyish peeps to execute exercises that can take them out of getting ill quickly. Lack of exercise can increase the risks of having bone loss, increased blood pressure, slow metabolism and bad appetite which are common among the seniors. If you're among the mature crowd who want to get started with a fitness program, you can consider these 4 convenient routines for the aged:

1. Stretching. Older tendons, joints and bones need to be flexed and firmed up. As you get old, your muscles tend to stiffen up and lose its flexibility. Stretching exercises intended for areas like arms, shoulders, chest, back, chest, stomach and thighs can be made through several routines. Among them are knee and shoulder rotation, leg raise, neck rotation, arm stretching, etc.

2. Strength Training. Of course, you can do strength training by lifting some light dumbbells. The muscles in your upper and lower body can also be trained by using machines, free weights, fitness balls and barbells. You can do this for 30 minutes twice or thrice a week making sure that you allow your muscles to enjoy downtimes. Plantar Flexion that targets to strengthen your calves and ankles is a common exercise you can engage in. Another one is the arm raise that strengthens your triceps, biceps and shoulder muscles.

3. Endurance Training. For a stronger endurance, you should undertake some heart-rate-improving and muscle-activating routines like jogging, running, aerobic dance or elliptical machine training. Be able to manage your breathing mechanism appropriately as you do your cardio routine.

4. Back Strengthening. It's common among the aged to experience back pains. To get you off some, you can try sitting with your back being straightened upright and feet on the floor. Bend your arms and draw your shoulders behind as far as you can. In this exercise, you will be the stretch on our back.
No matter how much you think you're old, you are still capable of undertaking stretching,

strengthening and body resistance training at the gym. Make sure you are guided by a professional trainer so that you do not lose your sense of appropriateness and safety.

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PS3 3 Beeps Flashing Red Light Fix

One of the most common and frustrating errors on the PS3 platform is the flashing red light error that is accompanied by 3 beeps that sound ominously from within your console. In this article you are going to learn how to repair those 3 beeps and get rid of the flashing red light on your PS3 in next to no time.

The blinking red light error on Sony’s PS3 platform is caused by hard drive (HDD) problems, often with the connection between the HDD and the motherboard of your PS3. It is not caused by anything else, and although there are a lot of claims about the cause of this problem it is important that you understand that it is related to the hard drive.

Sony will fix those 3 beeps and the flashing red light on your PS3 for you, but there are a few strings attached! Firstly, if your warranty has expired (or you didn’t have a warranty to begin with, which will be the case if you bought your PS3 more than a year ago, or got it secondhand) you will have to pay $150 to get your PS3 fixed of the red light error. Secondly, you will have to wait around 6 weeks to get the problem fixed, which is an awful lot of gaming downtime. Finally, you will probably get a “refurbished” PS3 returned to you, which means a console that has been fixed but that is not your own and will therefore not have your saved games etc.

So how do you fix the PS3 3 beeps and flashing red light error?

The most simple and successful method for many gamers has been to power down their PS3 console, let it cool down for a few minutes, then remove the HDD/hard drive from the console. Next, carefully re-insert the HDD back into your console and then restart it. Voila! The problem should be fixed in a matter of minutes.

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Keep Your Daily Intentions Pure

I was speaking with an old friend of mine the other day who has been through some tough personal battles in recent years. He proudly informed me of how long he has been sober and the steps that he was taking to continue that trend. In the same breath, he stated, very honestly, “I can’t say that I’m never going to drink again. But I’m not going to drink today.” I was impressed by that and it got me thinking.

There are so many goals that I want to accomplish for myself and my family that I often get overwhelmed by concentrating on the number of steps it will take to reach those goals. So when my daily intentions get lost, my head starts spinning and I stop accomplishing anything, I hit the reset button and get my concentration back on today. That means slowing down and taking it one day at a time. What can I accomplish today that will move me towards my goals? This is the question that we need to ask ourselves everyday. We then need to answer that question with what we can do, not what we can’t.

Keep your intentions pure and remind yourself everyday of what those intentions are. By doing so, you can be certain that you are moving closer towards your goals every day. I can’t say that I am always going to make the right choices. However, I can say that my intentions will be pure and I will learn and grow from the mistakes that I make. As a result, I will be a better, stronger person tomorrow.

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Pink Bridesmaid Dresses: How to Choose the Right Color

There is such an array of beautiful colors today when choosing bridesmaid dresses. With so many choices, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when it comes time to pick the perfect color for your bridesmaids. If your bridal party is small, then the choices may not be as daunting, but the larger the party, the larger your choice becomes and the more difficult it becomes to pick a color that looks good on everyone. For instance, if pink is your theme, pink bridesmaid dresses may not be suitable for everyone so a little tweak here and there may be needed to keep everyone happy and looking their best.

The following are some great tips for choosing a color that both compliments your bridesmaids and their individuality and is the perfect match for the theme of your wedding.

Time of Year and Time of Day This is one the most important driving factors of your choice. A summertime light and breezy color does not always work in the fall and vice versa. The time of day also is a deciding factor. Be cognizant of the bridemaids shape, sizes and coloring. For instance, solid pink bridesmaid dresses will not always work on certain skin tones.

Opting for different shades within the same color family or mixing and matching two contrasting colors is a great way to change it up a bit and works with any season. Also, adding embellishments of silver to pink or conversely pink to silver will work well on different bridesmaids. It is like an all in one fix where one color may not do the trick but the other makes up for the shortcomings and is a perfect solution.

Type of Affair Is your wedding going to be casual, formal or a beach destination wedding? Lighter pastel shades work well for casual weddings where the darker, richer hues such as black or deep hunter green work with more formal affairs.

If you are going casual but it is a nighttime affair, then using contrasting colors of both light and dark will work well for any affair. Layering chocolate-brown with pink is a great way to add richness yet keeping it lighter with pink shading.

If it is a destination wedding, then let your imagination run wild. Most colors work well, but like the destination, if it is tropical then think tropical and choose colors that fit into that theme. Nighttime or daytime, when it is a destination or tropical wedding, the location drives the choices.

The final word on bridesmaid dresses. Choose a color that you both like and works with your theme. If you do not like it, it does not matter how good it looks on your bridesmaids and what time of year or day it is, you will never be happy.

After all, it is your day. Hopefully, this will be the most memorable and wonderful day of your life. You need to be happy and satisfied with the choices you make. It is necessary to take everything into account and make decisions based on all factors.

Take your time and enjoy every moment of your planning process. Make your day one to remember forever; in a good way.

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3 Steps to Mapping Your Life Right!

OK … the analogy is incredibly simple. If I hand you a map and ask you to "draw your route," what is your first question? Of, course, "where are we going?" This is what we in personal development and self-help coaching call an "A-HA moment."

We spend a lifetime drawing maps only to get to a destination and regret that we were not somewhere else! We say things like, "I am nowhere close to where I want to be," "I should have / could have / would have done something else if I knew," and "I just never had the chance to do something I always wanted to do. " Is there something wrong with our maps? NO. Is there something wrong with the detours that inevitably occurs through a lifetime? NO. Is there something wrong with the very thinking that we need a "plan" and that is why we are even holding a map? NO. So … where is the breakdown? The problem is simple. We spend a lifetime drawing maps, but we never stop to ask ourselves where is it actually actually want to go? (I think we just experienced another "A-HA moment!")

Think about this for a moment. If you have a big enough map, you can go anywhere in the world. To do that, you only need to know 2 pieces of information: where you are now and where you want to go. If you know the answer to those 2 questions, drawing a map becomes childs play. That is it! If you have not answered those 2 questions (honestly!), Why are you drawing maps? I know … because it is what we are "supposedly to do" and it is because we "should" do these things …

Now … guess who is responsible for your lack of "success" (whatever that means)? YOU! Nobody else. Now, before you say those horrific words, "YEAH, BUT," keep reading.

When you stop making excuses and step back out of your life for just a few moments, it is easier than you believe it is to get some clarity. And when you have some clarity about what you are trying to accomplish, your map draws itself! How cool is that!

So … how do you map your life right? Follow these 3 steps and never look back!

1. Get clarity: What would you be doing right now if you could be doing something that you loved to do? Where do you find your energy? Who would you be with? Where would you be? What are you going to regret not doing in your life? Take the labels off your life and think about WHO you really are.

2. Get excited: As a motivational speaker and coach, people often ask me to "get them motivated." I often think it must be what comedians experience when someone sees them and says, "hey, make me laugh!" My answer is simple … want to get motivated about something? Find something that motivates you! Think about this for a moment … if you hate your job and your are always stressing about something and you do not like your financial situation and you are choosing misery over happiness … I have news for you … I CAN NOT motivate YOU! You need to leave your stress and find your energy. If there is something you really want to do … does someone else need to motivate you to do it? Or do you just go and do it? Of course you do! It is when we really do NOT want to do things that de-motivates us. SO … find the things that motivate you because they have meaning for you and replace some of your stressors with them.

3. Get moving: Knowledge without action is worthless. If there is something you want to do and there is a valid "why" you want to do it … go do it! If you are making excuses instead of taking action, you might not really want to do it. Be honest with yourself. There is no such thing as "failure" (whatever that means). The only way you can possibly "fail" is to never try something you will regret not trying.

Mark Twain said, "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did." "Failure" should never frighten you. Regret should look the hell out of you! If you choose to do nothing to make your journey fulfilling, try not to look back … you will not like what you see.

Get clarity! Get excited! Get moving!

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Want To Make Your Penis Size Bigger Naturally? – Easy As 123 To Make Your Manhood Bigger Naturally

How to increase your penis health. Most men are regularly wanting to learn ways to make their penis bigger and harder naturally. Many male enhancement solutions are now easy to get more than ever before for men wanting to increase the width, size and hardness of their penis. This article will explain ways to enlarge your penis naturally also doing exercise to make your penis size bigger.

Below are some important facts about male penis health solutions:

  1. Usually saying we know most penises are under 4 inches long while the average is 5.9 inches long.
  2. The truth is 2 in 10 men over the age of 40 will suffer from impotence in some point of their lives.
  3. Each year their 10’s of thousands of men seeking help emotionally about the small size of their penis.
  4. With help the increase in penis size can normally be made by most men wanting a bigger,wider and harder penis size.

To grow your penis naturally the key to this lies with the increase of blood flow. The fact of the matter hands down is with more blow flow this will enable many men to make the size of their penis bigger naturally. Let me give you a short rundown to making your penis growth bigger with these popular solutions naturally.

Solution 1 to grow penis size naturally is: Exercise Your Penis To Make It Bigger.

With many exercises out there enlarge your penis. Like most well used exercises these solutions include warm up and cool down ways to grow. You will have to have time on your hands because it will take effort to follow penis size enlargement routine exercises to make your size bigger. You can train your penis to increase the blood flow with this one exercise which will increase the size and hardness of your erections every time will make you happy.

Jelq is one way to naturally enlarge your penis this exercise which is a natural movement. You will maintain a slow outward rhythmic, gentle pulling movement of your penis which this exercise causes more blood to flow to your penis. Whenever you exercise your penis this way regularly the increase blood flow through the entire shaft will increase the size and width of your penis.

It has been known that a lot of men enjoy doing this exercise while increasing the size, width and hardness of their penis. But as we can testify to we men are in a hurry and want more bang to permanent penis enlargement solutions that involve quicker growth with lest effort and time on our part.

How to get you penis larger method 2: Plastic Surgery For Penis Enlargement.

With plastic surgery which is call Phalloplasty the cost ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 or more some men will happily reach into their wallet to pay this cost to get the large penis size they see in the movies.

How can Plastic Surgery Make My Penis Size Larger?

This plastic surgery involves cutting the ligament at the base of your penis that anchors to your pubic bone in order to make the size of your penis larger. So not to risk your manhood to a bad mistake I would advise wearing a penis lengthen er for 4 to 6 hours every day. the cost ranges from $300 to $400.

Who wants to naturally have a whopper size penis? Method 3: Pills To Make Your Penis Size Bigger and Harder naturally.

To consider this or another method you will want to add Male enhancement pills to this list by comparing different penis pills that will best for fill your needs for penis size enlargement.The best penis pills are natural and contains very powerful herbs that the Chinese and others elsewhere in the world have been using these for centuries. With plastic surgery out of the question many men look to natural pills for their solution to larger penis size.

For the latest research to date for making your penis size bigger naturally I highly recommend and urge you to please visit the website below. For more up to date research about how to make your penis size bigger naturally that I highly recommend I urge you to check out the website below.

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Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of moving money from the illegitimate to the legitimate economy. The crime of money laundering consists of knowingly disguising the source, origin or ownership of illegal funds.

Any criminal transactions are carried out in cash and the function of the money launderer is often to translate these small sums into a larger, more liquid sum which will be difficult to trace and more easy to invest. Money laundering has emerged on a massive international scale with the globalization of the world economy and the internationalization of organized crime.

Money earned in one region can, with increasing facility, be transferred to another part of the world, preventing its eventual recovery by law enforcement. With the globalization of organized crime activity, money is earned in all regions of the world and must be collected, consolidated and moved.

 This growth has been facilitated by new technologies, the increasing movement of goods and people globally and the declining significance of borders. A large number of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and bankers, have emerged to provide services to this criminal and corrupt clientele with large amounts of money at their disposal. Not involved in the original act, these professionals help perpetuate criminal and corrupt activities through their services. Organized crime groups have particularly benefited from the expansion of global financial markets. They have exploited the differential regulatory regimes and the possibility of moving money across jurisdictions rapidly in order to hinder detection by taking advantage of the discrepancies between country based regulatory systems.

They seek out locales that are less regulated with respect to international anti-money laundering laws. These havens, frequently offshore banking centers, provide both banking and corporate secrecy. They also provide secrecy for the trusts, which are used to hide large-scale assets that are often illegally diverted from the companies controlled by organized crime groups. In 1996 economists of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that 2 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) was related to drug crime and the laundered sums associated with corruption and tax evasion would be an even larger percentage. The share of the world’s economy would be even higher today for several reasons as many forms of organized crime have grown in this period and the countermeasures have failed to dent the profits of this activity except at the margins.

Much laundered money has been invested in dollarized accounts and other strong currencies where it has escaped significant losses through currency devaluations in origin countries. In offshore regimes where financial capital is untaxed, its growth is faster than that of money that is part of taxed and regulated regimes. The range of businesses and financial institutions used to launder money has proliferated with the profits and the growing sums which need to be laundered. Among the institutions employed are large banks, offshore banks and financial institutions, currency exchange and wire transfer businesses, stock brokerage houses, gold dealers, casinos, insurance and trading companies.

The ability to safeguard the proceeds of transnational criminal activity, tax evasion and corruption have served as significant incentives for the growth of this activity. There is limited risk and few deterrents for the money launderers and the professionals who aid their activities. The limited seizures that do take place are merely “one more cost of doing business.” The international efforts sponsored by the Organized for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to limit offshore havens and to sanction countries that facilitate money laundering have yet failed to sharply curtail money laundering.

Sources of Laundered Millions

Laundered money derives from the full range of illicit activities linked to organized crime such as narcotics and arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, extortion, gambling, counterfeiting of money and goods, trafficking in endangered species and stolen art and automobiles. Often, corrupt government officials move the bribes they have received or the money they have embezzled to offshore locations for security. Much of this cannot be treated as laundered money in many countries because these corrupt activities are not predicate offenses to money laundering.

 The need to have a pre-existing criminal offense under many criminal codes, is a major deterrent to effective money laundering investigations. The laundering techniques of organized crime groups have become increasingly sophisticated. Experts are retained who have the capacity to disguise the source of funds and make them look legitimate. For this reason organized crime groups have increasingly penetrated into legitimate economies and financial markets.

Such operators have laundered the assets from these diversified investments as well as from the original illicit activities. The money laundering associated with high level governmental corruption has received more attention in the post-Cold War era. Corrupt leaders launder money derived from multiple sources: siphoned out of the national treasury; diverted from foreign assistance; pay offs from foreign investors or contractors working on development loans from multilateral organizations and proceeds from privatization.

The wave of privatizations in the 1990s in many parts of the world has contributed to the increased deposit of funds in unregulated offshore accounts. In the transitional period from governmental ownership to private ownership when there is limited transparency, many of the insiders have managed to appropriate significant resources of privatizing firms and have through elaborate trust agreements, consistent with the laws of the locale, parked very valuable national resources in financial tax havens. The money laundering associated with the privatization process has also resulted in large and visible cases of international money laundering investigated such as the Raul Salinas case from Mexico and the Pavel Lazarenko case from Ukraine. Investigations into each of these cases, by Swiss and American authorities, as well as other governments, has totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In the Salinas case, pay offs from drug traffickers were commingled with pay offs for beneficial privatizations of key state-owned industries.

A major question is whether mechanisms will be made available in the future to deter such deposits and whether procedures will be established to make such sums more easily recoverable by the source country. As the corruption issue is no longer a taboo issue for employees of multilateral financial institutions, the significant money laundering associated with project and structural adjustment loans have become permissible topics of discussion.

For example, researchers at the IMF now acknowledge that they could observe the financial flows out of Haiti immediately after international loan funds flowed into the country. An investigator examining the diversion of a World Bank loan to Pakistan traced $30 million to a Swiss bank. Increasingly, the investigators of corruption in these international financial institutions must be trained to find money laundering because both bribe money and actual project loans wind up in the banking centers of Western countries.

Banks and Other Financial Institutions Engaged in Money Laundering

The types of financial institutions exploited for money laundering have proliferated as the reporting requirements on major banks have increased. Offshore banks have sprung up in many locales to service the demands of affluent clients who seek secrecy and an absence of reporting requirements. By the end of 1997, offshore locales housed more than half of all cross-border assets held globally. Very few countries have been active in taking measures to seize laundered assets.

The exceptions are the United States and Switzerland. However, the amount they have managed to freeze and confiscate has been very limited compared to the overall total of illegal monies in their financial markets. Many other major banking centers, such as those located in England and Germany, have thousands of suspicious transaction reports yet have comparatively few successful criminal prosecutions or confiscations of assets. Therefore, while there are significant risks of getting caught for smuggling drugs, there is much less chance of getting caught and losing the proceeds of drugs or other criminal proceeds. Most money laundering occurs in offshore banking centers, many of whose operations are less highly regulated than those in major banking centers.

Not all-offshore banks are laundering money. The most flagrant abusers are those offshore locales without any financial infrastructure or any regulatory mechanisms to monitor the banks or to track the transactions, which pass through their locale. In these situations individuals and businesses are exploiting the possibility of bank and corporate secrecy that these locales provide. Many parts of the Caribbean have established large legitimate banking services that are providing services to a large international clientele of legitimate businesses. This offers evidence to indicate that size and location are not absolute determinants of whether a financial institution is used as a laundering facility for the cleansing of questionable proceeds.

At present, there are different niches for different categories of money laundering. Drug dealers have the widest range of assets to dispose of and continuous financial flows, therefore they use all available financial instruments. There is significant differentiation in the market. For example, wire transfer businesses are used primarily by street level drug dealers, whereas the private banking services of major banks are available only to large-scale clients.

Offshore banks are used by individuals and groups engaged in a wide range of illicit and licit activities. There are increasing controls on large financial institutions, but recent cases have revealed that it is still possible to launder vast sums through major banks and through these banks offshore branches. Major American banks such as Citibank, the Bank of New York, and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), as well as their offshore branches, have figured prominently in recent investigations of money laundering. As one of the minority congresswomen on the United States House of Representatives Banking and Finance Committee commented, during the Bank of New York hearings, it was the failure to sanction Citibank in the Salinas case of drug money laundering which has perpetuated the problem. While such actions as a Geographic Targeting Order in the New York area has limited wire transfers out of small businesses, it remains continually possible to move large, questionable and illegal sums through the private banking operations of major banks.

The profits for the institutions and particularly for the officials of these divisions have made bankers often turn a blind eye. A recently released U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report, conducted by the investigative branch of the agency, examined the possibility of laundering money in the United States. The investigators traced US$800 million of such funds that had been moved into U.S. banks by one Russian. He did this by registering companies in the “offshore location” of the State of Delaware, which protects the anonymity of corporations. The money was subsequently moved into accounts in the private banking sector of Citibank. No legal action had been taken against the banks, any of the account holders or against the individual who had managed to move these funds of unknown origin through the American banking system. This investigation reveals how sophisticated money launderers can exploit significant loopholes in United States to move large amounts of questionable money through a leading American institution.

Money Laundering in the Mercosur

Money laundering is becoming an increasingly serious problem in several of the countries of the Mercosur. Part of this is related to the need of Colombian and Mexican drug lords to launder their money, and the greater facility with which they can do this in Spanish speaking countries. It also is due to the proliferation of offshore banks in Latin America and the Caribbean, which now represent 43% of the international total. The most visible manifestation of this phenomenon has been the construction of the resorts of Cancun that was done with drug money. Yet the use of hotels through which to launder money is not confined to Mexico, as the proliferation of luxury hotels in Argentina with limited clientele is further visible evidence of this problem. More difficult to detect and investigate is the money laundering through the Mercosur banking sector, shell companies, commodities brokerages and currency exchanges.

A joint investigation conducted by the Brazilian Federal Police, Central Bank and other entities reported that between 1998-99, US$18 billion was laundered through Brazil. Brazilian money launderers, according to the U.S. Department of State, dispose of drug money and the profits of white-collar crime. Much of the arms and drugs trade occurs through the border town of Foz de Iguacu. The proximity to Paraguay, which is a major money-laundering center for Latin America, exacerbates the problem. Approximately, 20% of Paraguayan money laundering is related to drugs, while the vast majority emanates from smuggling and contraband.

No major scandal has disrupted the Uruguayan banking system but the dependence of the Uruguayan economy on its banking sector has failed to make it very vigilant in reviewing the source of client funds. A major money laundering scandal erupted in early 2001 with the Argentine Central Bank President Pedro Pou accused of covering up illicit cash being moved through local and foreign banks. He tried to hide from the Argentine congress information on these illegal transactions. This public scandal emerged after a report by an U.S. Senate Subcommittee on money laundering traced drug money from Citibank back to an Argentine bank. As much as US$10 billion may have been laundered through Buenos Aires. In response to these problems, the South American Financial Action Task Force (Grupo de Accion Finaciero de Sudamerica contra el Lavado de Avisos-GAFISUD) was established on December 8, 2000. Its member states’ include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecudor, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The vital function of this organization is to improve coordination in monitoring and combating money laundering in the region.

Why has it been so hard to move against money laundering?

Until recently it has been difficult to undertake measures against money laundering due to the absence of a necessary political will and the cumbersome international legal mechanisms which presently exist. Furthermore, the profits of this activity, particularly within private banking, have been very lucrative for financial institutions and the registration and associated services. The offshore locales have provided an incentive for many locales without alternatives. Money laundering on a large scale has existed since the 1960s. Dictators have moved money to safe havens and with the rise of the international drug trade since the late 1960s, there has been an increasing need to move large amounts of money into the legitimate financial system. Covert arms sales have been facilitated for decades by money laundering. Even though many knew this was going on, the fight against money laundering has been treated as a secondary concern to the preservation of influence within a particular geographic region. With the end of the Cold War, the desire to protect certain dictators who were key figures in this strategy collapsed.

There was no longer a need to “protect our dictator,” whose corruption became an embarrassment to the states and consequently multilateral lending institutions. The massive money laundering out of the states of the former Soviet Union, in the 1990s, has revealed that the budgets and economies of entire countries can be devastated by the ability to launder money to major financial centers and offshore locations. The credibility of such multilateral institutions as the World Bank and the IMF has been called into question. This tolerance of corruption has been a highly significant factor in the reduced legitimacy of these institutions that have not been necessarily vigilant in monitoring the diversion of the loans they have made overseas.

Their new emphasis on corruption is an attempt to reverse this trend. The rise of the Internet and the speed of financial transactions facilitated by computers have expanded money laundering opportunities and activities in the latter half of the 1990s. There are increasing number of Webs sites that solicit money for transfer offshore, the rise of internet gambling and of virtual banking have made it possible to launder money without any infrastructure to run or regulate international banking operations. Instead, the rise of information technology and the growth of untraceable encryption have provided the possibility of laundering money with greater facility and with almost perfect anonymity. All that is needed is a computer. The rise of the new information technology has facilitated an incredible communications revolution, but it has led to the proliferation of money laundering in some of the most remote destinations in the world. Such locations include Vanuatu, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands through whose “banks” billions have been laundered in the last couple of years.

Facilitating the rise of virtual banking in offshore locations has been the willingness of major banks to receive funds that have been routed through these locales. While well-written software could screen these transactions and prevent the absorption of these funds into mainstream banking centers, this has not occurred. The legal institutions to combat money laundering are much slower than those constructed on an order before the information age. Therefore, a wire transfer which is moved among four jurisdictions in an hour, a typical move for a money launderer, will take law enforcement in the United States a year to unravel because of the need to present documents to four different jurisdictions to obtain information on the transaction. Law enforcers in countries without such resources as the United States may never be able to trace these transactions. In some cases, it is either legally impossible or physically impossible to obtain needed information on the money movement because of the bank secrecy or the presence and protection of trusts. In the United States, a predicate offense is needed to prove money laundering. However, this requires cooperation of law enforcement in the source country. In cases where the money is associated to a high level official or his/her associates, or where domestic law enforcement has been neutralized by corruption from crime groups, that crucial cooperation will never be forthcoming. In many countries, many categories of crime are not predicate offenses for money laundering or there is an absence of money laundering law, leaving many financial transactions outside the reach of American law enforcement. A novel situation now exists.

The complexity of the cases of money laundering means that the number and expertise of the enforcement required to address these crimes is so vital that even well staffed American law enforcement can address only a few major law enforcement cases annually. Furthermore, between the corruption of domestic law enforcement in many countries and bank secrecy in others, most money laundering investigations are condemned to failure from the start. As the amounts of money laundered grow, the capacity to address the problem remains perpetually behind.

Why the current campaign against money laundering?

A growing consensus is developing in many developed countries that the problem of money laundering must be addressed both within their economies and in offshore locations. Much of this is proceeding on a diplomatic level and is aimed at financial institutions because the previous legal strategy has inherent limitations. Focus is now on prevention rather than on legal remedies. The present movement against money laundering is the result of a convergence of mutual interests rather than as a consequence of a unified view of the harms of money laundering. For the United States, the driving force has been the rise of the international drug trade, a trade that has enormous financial and social implications for the United States. American policy makers have become increasingly concerned that money laundering permits the perpetuation of the drug trade and terrorism.

The possibility to park funds in offshore havens gives these illicit operators the working capital to perpetrate and perpetuate their activity. But money laundering is not confined to offshore locales. American authorities now estimate that US$9 billion in narco dollars is laundered in New York City and US$30 billion dollars of drug money is laundered in Texas. For European countries, the opening of borders and the establishment of the Euro in 2002 have placed their territory and financial systems at greater risk. The threat of transnational crime is not only higher rates of violence, unwanted immigrants but also large scale financial crime and money laundering within the European financial system. The movement of capital to offshore locations has had severe consequences for Europe’s revenue collection. The increasing amounts of capital sheltered in offshore locations is preventing the collection of needed taxes, making the maintenance of offshore accounts an even greater problem for European countries that need substantial revenues to maintain expensive social welfare systems and take care of aging populations. Therefore, revenue concerns are more of an impetus for European than American action against offshore havens.

What is the current campaign against money laundering?

In 1989 the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established to coordinate a response to the problem of money laundering. The following year FATF issued 40 recommendations against money laundering which were subsequently revised in 1996. FATF, now consists of 29 countries, and two international organizations and represents the larger developed countries as well as some of the more affluent developing countries. The first recommendation requires that countries become signatories to the Vienna Convention against money laundering. The Vienna convention only concerns the proceeds of money laundering related to the drug trade.

However, it does not include the other serious categories of crime with which money laundering may be associated. Consequently, the recommendations also suggest that prohibitions against money laundering be extended to other serious offenses. This discretion has led to many countries differing legislative measures. Some have not made human trafficking, one of the fastest growing forms of organized crime, a predicate offense for money laundering. Likewise, corruption remains in most countries, including the United States, outside the list of many serious crimes, which are predicates to money laundering.

The recommendations also deal with measures to identify, trace and confiscate laundered assets. Various measures must be taken by financial institutions to ensure that they maintain proper record keeping, know their customers and keep records for at least five years time to permit reconstruction of financial transactions. Bank officials are required to monitor large and questionable transactions and to report suspicious transactions to competent authorities without advising the customers in question. These principles are applied not only to the domestic banks but also to their subsidiaries that are located outside of the country. Signatory countries are to intensify controls at the borders with the purpose of limiting the movement of large amounts of cash. Furthermore, countries are expected to develop modern methods of money management such as checks and direct deposits that reduce reliance on a cash economy. Effective regulatory bodies are to be established to ensure that there are adequate measures and sufficiently trained personnel to realize the implementation of these regulations.

Regulators must take efforts to ensure that criminals do not acquire or achieve significant control over financial institutions. International cooperation must be extended as regards to suspicious transactions, confiscation, mutual assistance and extradition. Cooperative investigations should be encouraged and launched when possible. To ensure cooperation among states, there must be decisions made as to the best venues in which to prosecute offenders. Annual Reports are issued by the FATF within which the country teams have monitored the progress of member states and issues typologies. The Typologies Report follow an annual meeting in which law enforcement, legal, financial and regulatory experts discuss recent trends in laundering criminal proceeds, emerging trends that arouse concern and countermeasures which have proved effective. In June 2000, the FATF listed a group of 15 jurisdictions with serious deficiencies in anti-money laundering efforts. This “blacklist” was based on extent of compliance with 25 published criteria.

Three of the fifteen jurisdictions are located in the Caribbean and include Dominca, St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Vincent. According to the Annual Report issued at the same time, the member countries of the FATF group are largely in compliance with the regulations. This evaluation is based largely on the mutual evaluations of the member states. A dichotomy exists between the perception of the developed countries and the offshore centers. The tax havens or international financial centers claim that the legislation and infrastructure are in place and most money laundering occurs through large financial centers. On the other side, the mainland countries perceive that money laundering is occurring in offshore locales. The problem remains that money laundering persists in both kinds of locales. The FATF is now turning its attention to such problems as money laundering through on-line banking, trusts and other non-corporate vehicles, the professionals who facilitate money laundering, the role of cash vs. non-cash activities and the money laundering of terrorists. The FATF is only one of several visible multilateral bodies working on money laundering. It has regional task forces that include the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The United Nations and its Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) has a program against money laundering.

The Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Drug Control, as well as the Council of Europe, have launched special initiatives on money laundering. Much has also been done at the national level. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the U.S. Department of State releases annually its International Narcotics Control Strategy, approximately a quarter of it is devoted to actions against money laundering and compliance with money laundering regulations. The report assesses not only drug-related money laundering but that related to other offenses. A significant group of countries are identified as of primary concern based on their failure to meet a wide range of criteria concerning asset and information sharing, as well as the deficiencies of their legal framework. Individual countries have established domestic Financial Intelligence Units to address problems of financial crime in order to formulate more effective countermeasures.

These countries share some information within the framework of the Egmont Group. This informal alliance includes over 45 countries facilitating the exchange of records and evidentiary materials among member states. The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, was signed in Palermo, Italy by 123 countries (December 12-14, 2000). It contains provisions to combat money laundering as it is related to organized crime. These include adequate system of internal regulation within the signatory countries, cooperation on the regional, international and multilateral levels, and the mechanisms needed to detect the cross border movements of capital. Furthermore, it requires customer identification, record keeping, reporting of suspicious transactions. Money laundering in this convention is tied not only to traditional forms of organized crime but also to the corrupt practices facilitating it.

The enormous growth of money laundering results from several factors simultaneously: the rise of transnational organized crime, the globalization of corruption and the competition for capital in an increasingly globalized international economy. The major actors in this essentially criminal business practice are major banking centers and offshore locales, although many other institutions and businesses participate. The possibility of laundering money in so many regions of the world has resulted in the massive transfer of resources from developing and transitional countries to safe havens in the more developed countries and more protected offshore locations.

Placement of money overseas, allows criminals and corrupt individuals to evade the control of local authorities, avoid the instability of domestic banking institutions while securing access to their funds internationally. Combating money laundering requires a multi-faceted approach. It is necessary not only to target the recipients of the laundered money but also to recognize the instability of the financial system in the source country. The capacity of different states to combat organized crime and money laundering must also be enhanced. This is a difficult problem in states that often do not have the sufficient resources to provide for the basic educational, medical and social needs of their citizenry. The international actions against money laundering are now focused more on prevention and sanctions rather than the multi-faceted strategies needed to address the actual causes of the problem.

Prevention works more effectively in the international financial community than in a single country where corruption and coercion by crime groups or high level corrupt officials may prevent the implementation of needed controls. Sanctioning may work in embarrassing major banking centers into greater compliance but the enormous profits of private banking services make many institutions adhere to the letter but not the spirit of money laundering controls. Their internal audit rules screen out some of the most blatant violators but the proliferation of trust agreements and front companies make it very difficult to screen clients effectively. Many larger financial systems, such as Switzerland, which have served as major repositories for drug kingpins, corrupt officials, and oligarchs are evaluated as in compliance of money laundering provisions.

Yet they do not provide enough law enforcement resources to investigate the vast amounts of money and the diversity of actors who are laundering money through their financial system. Therefore, the probability of successfully laundering large sums may be greater and there are many jurisdictions that are considered medium or high risk for money laundering by the FATF. In developing countries, which house many offshore locations, there is desperate competition for capital. Some Caribbean nations suggest that the drive against offshore locations is not motivated so much by the desire to combat money laundering but to counter the competition for financial services. In the absence of development alternatives, there is often little incentive to get out of the money laundering business. The sanctioning regime that has been instituted is being executed without equity. Countries placed on the high-risk list, otherwise known as the “black-list,” by the FATF are not necessarily the worst offenders. Some countries with very significant problems of money laundering have escaped sanctioning because of their political connections. Some small countries in the Caribbean or territories of larger countries do not have the public relations or the regulatory capacity to prevent their sanctioning have been exposed to the full force of the FATF. Whereas a country like Liechtenstein has the abundant resources to put towards the hire of lobbyists to clear its name and also address some aspects of the problem.

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