To prove our point, we went undercover and approached 13 New York law firms. We deliberately posed as someone designed to raise red flags for money laundering.
We said we were advising an African minister who had accumulated millions of dollars, and we wanted to buy a Gulfstream Jet, a brownstone and a yacht. We said we needed to get the money into the U.S. without detection.
To be clear, the meetings with the lawyers were all preliminary. None of the law firms took our investigator on as a client, and no money was moved.
Nonetheless, the results were shocking; all but one of the the lawyers had suggestions on how to move the funds. To see what some of them said, watch the video below:
Only one of the lawyers refused to speak to us at all. This is what he said:
For the complete picture, see the full recordings of these meetings here.
The key findings from the investigation are:
A number, including Mr. Silkenat, indicated they would need to carry out more checks before they could take our investigator on as a client. Mr. Silkenat also indicated that he had to make sure that no crimes had been committed and, if so, would have to report them.
None of the lawyers broke the law. To find out more about the investigation, including the responses we received from the lawyers featured read our briefing paper here.