Money laundering

INTERPOL's definition of money laundering is: "any act or attempted act to conceal or disguise the identity of illegally obtained proceeds so that they appear to have originated from legitimate sources".

Illegally obtained funds are laundered and moved around the globe using and abusing shell companies, intermediaries and money transmitters. In this way, the illegal funds remain hidden and are integrated into legal business and into the legal economy.

At INTERPOL, we work to combat money laundering through the global exchange of data, supporting operations in the field, and bringing together experts from the variety of sectors concerned. We work closely with other international organizations to foster international awareness of the importance of using financial investigative techniques against organized criminal activities and to avoid duplication of effort.

Sharing information

The INTERPOL General Assembly has passed a number of resolutions calling on member countries to concentrate their investigative resources in identifying, tracing and seizing the assets of criminal enterprises.

These resolutions have called on member countries to increase the exchange of information in this field and encourage governments to adopt laws and regulations that would allow access, by police, to the financial records of criminal organizations and confiscation of proceeds gained by criminal activity.


  • AG-2015-RES-01 - Pilot project concerning a new category of notice specifically devoted to the tracing and recovery of assets
  • AG-2015-RES-02 - Draft Cooperation Agreement between INTERPOL and the Basel Institute on Governance
  • AG-2013-RES-03 - Promoting international action in the identification, location and seizure of assets
  • AG-2012-RES-02 - Promoting international action targeting illicit proceeds
  • AGN/66/RES/18 (1997): Money laundering: Statistics
  • AGN/66/RES/17 (1997): Money laundering: Investigations and international police cooperation
  • AGN/66/RES/15 (1997): Money laundering: Legislation
  • AGN/60/RES/4 (1991): Measures to deal firmly and effectively with the System of illegal international financial transactions: underground and parallel banking.
  • AGN/56/RES/11 (1987): Cooperation between the banking and financial institutions and associations and law enforcement agencies
  • AGN/55/RES/18 (1986): Economic and financial crime; cooperation between the police and the banking and financial institutions and associations

 Operational support

We supported Operation Atlas, the first worldwide joint customs operation targeting the bulk smuggling of cash across borders. Led by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the operation in 2009 resulted in the seizure of approximately USD 3.5 million, with active participation from 70 countries. As well as giving access to our databases, we sent an INTERPOL Major Events Support Team to the WCO to assist the five-day operational phase in October and ensure a 24-hour response to this global activity.

Conferences and expertise

A working group on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing provides expert advice on developing the Organization's ability to facilitate investigations into money laundering and terrorism financing through effective and wider information sharing. The group works with other international organizations and the private sector in order to share best practice, knowledge and expertise.

We have co-organized with the World Customs Organization (WCO) two conferences on illicit cash couriers (in 2008 and 2009). These meetings provide an opportunity for police and customs officials to devise joint efforts to combat money laundering across the globe, in particular the practice known as ‘cash couriers’. This is the illicit cash transportation, particularly by criminal and terrorist organizations, which poses a serious threat to global economic stability.

25 November 2015

Experts gather at INTERPOL to identify emerging social engineering fraud techniques

18 November 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation

18 November 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

06 November 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud

02 October 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop

21 September 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes

06 August 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana

04 August 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation

02 July 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training

29 June 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained

05 June 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations

02 June 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents

19 May 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Bucharest aims to set the course for European security

30 January 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes

28 November 2014

Global action against online fraud in the airline sector nets 118 arrests

16 September 2014

International cooperation against counterfeit currency and travel documents focus of INTERPOL meeting

22 May 2014

INTERPOL meeting puts document security under the microscope

30 April 2014

Criminal network involved in payment card fraud dismantled with INTERPOL support