What is successive laundering?
The characteristics of the so-called successive money laundering and who may be committing this crime
It could be said that the successive money laundering is the “laundering of what is laundered”, or in other words it would be a crime that the Criminal Code defines in No. 2 of art.301 –EDL 1995/16398– and which it defines as or conceal the true nature, origin, location, destination, movement or rights over the goods or ownership of the same knowing that they come from some of the crimes expressed in the previous section or from an act of participation in them.”
In this case, this type of crime is characterized by the fact that the conduct falls on those goods that have already been the object of some previous act of laundering and not on the goods from the original crime. This means that these goods have undergone transformations, through successive operations.
In successive money laundering, there may be different ‘launderers’ on the same illicit source, so it could be different authors with respect to the original money laundering operation, since those who carry out the successive money laundering do not have to be the same who have committed the first crime of money laundering.
In this way, it can happen that money laundering is committed by one person, who then goes to others to maintain the money laundering process in a sustained manner over time, for example through instrumental companies for the purchase of companies and estate.
Said operations constitute successive laundering operations, due to the fact that the money that has been used from the beginning of the same is from the original money laundering and therefore ‘contaminates’ the rest of the subsequent operations, as well as the generation of income in form of assets and capital as long as these operations remain active. Even if it is about assets obtained with money from investments not directly related to the profits from the criminal activity in the first place, since the unlawful connection of said activity is maintained.
The biggest problem in accrediting acts of successive money laundering is the difficulty in proving their accreditation, a difficulty that increases the longer the time elapsed, to which is added the creation of corporate entities in the circuit for the return of goods.
The responsibility of the prosecution
For this reason, it is the prosecution who has the responsibility to prove that said behaviors of transformation of goods and capital originated in the money obtained from criminal activities. In other words, it must be possible to demonstrate a chain of relationships (direct or indirect) between the different transformation operations, where each one leads or several lead to the following ones, thus showing the traceability of said actions.
In this sense, it is of the utmost importance that the evidentiary analysis be very rigorous at all levels, precisely in order to be able to demonstrate that continuity of the transforming activities, which in turn shows the continuity of the structure created to hide and transform the capital of criminal origin from the questioned goods, because no matter how much time has passed, these goods will continue to be the product of the criminal activities with which those original incomes were obtained, which have been tried to hide, through successive laundering.