Not all stains come out in the wash

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The Independent Culture
Ever wondered what to do with all that cash you keep amassing from your assorted vice operations? Then The Business: The Laundrymen (7.30pm BBC2) is for you: a comprehensive guide to money laundering.

The job of separating cash from illegal origins is fraught with the most unexpected logistical problems: have you ever considered, for example, that you need four briefcases to carry a million pounds'-worth of tenners around? This, the first stage of money laundering, can thwart the most experienced crooks. Pable Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug baron, is thought to have let $40m rot away in his basement because it was too bulky to move.

The programme also looks at Britain's lax rules on recording cash transactions; a fact that makes London one of the world's key laundering sites; the City, it seems, is a roaring hotbed of backhanders and bribes. Cash from the Brink's-Mat bullion robbery ended up being invested in London's Docklands - a revelation which undermines the theory that good laundering involves ploughing tainted cash into safe commodities.

Not all money laundering involves billions of pounds, though. One lawyer went to the authorities after a client paid his bill with a tin stuffed with cash. So next time somebody tries to fob you off with a box full of the folding stuff, you know what to do.

At least, you know what you should do.

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