This thesis examines whether anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) law strikes the right balance between the need to counter money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) and the need to preserve the right of privacy. To do this, the thesis examines both the effectiveness of AML/CTF law and the scope of the right of privacy. The thesis reviews the history of AML/CTF law, including attempts to estimate the size of the money laundering problem, and assesses the operation of the AML/CTF regulatory system of three jurisdictions: Australia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The right of privacy, including its origins and theoretical underpinnings, are reviewed, followed by an examination of the practical impacts of AML/CTF law on the right. The extent to which privacy should yield, if at all, to the requirements of AML/CTF law is then considered. Finally, the effectiveness of AML/CTF law as a tool to identify and prevent ML/TF is weighed against the law’s impact on the right of privacy. It is concluded that the resulting intrusion into the right of privacy by the operation of AML/CTF law cannot be justified on the basis of its demonstrated effectiveness. In response to this finding it is recommended that AML/CTF law be refined in order to minimise its impact on the right of privacy and that regulators develop better methods to track the effectiveness of AML/CTF law.
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