Predicate Crimes and Anti-Money Laundering Responses in Turkey and the United Kingdom:
: A Critical Analysis

  • Engin Erken

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The elevated levels of the international illicit drug trade, its vehement connections with other organised criminal activities, and the associated money laundering (ML) risks in the 1980s have motivated governments to address the transnational dimension of the predicament across the world. The initiatives led by the United Nations (UN) prompted, amongst others, the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the creation of the FATF Recommendations, which initially targeted only drug-related offences as predicate crimes. Accordingly, jurisdictions originally composed their national anti-money laundering (AML) structures concerning tackling ML deriving from drug-related offences, the first recognised predicate crime globally. However, although the scope of predicate crimes has enlarged gradually (e.g., from tax evasion/fraud to terrorism and cybercrime), states have endeavoured to tackle the plethora of predicate crimes by the identical AML frameworks established to address ML deriving from the drug predicament at the outset. Whilst a large body of literature has examined and compared the efficacy of national AML regimes in impeding ML offences, their respective effectiveness in reducing predicate crimes remains un(der)explored. This thesis provides a unique contribution to knowledge by investigating the AML regimes (i.e., the law in books and law in action) in Turkey and the UK relating to tackling the riskiest/most prevalent predicate crimes therein (i.e., drug trafficking and tax offences), thereby filling a significant gap within the current literature. It provides insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of national AML frameworks adopted by Turkey and the UK in addressing distinct predicate crimes, thereby identifying essential features of an optimum AML ecosystem that could effectively address predicate crimes regardless of their nature. This research has been conducted by utilising three research methodologies (i.e., doctrinal, socio-legal, and comparative research). The doctrinal methodology has been applied to determine the prevailing legal structure in Turkey and the UK. The socio-legal methodology has been used to investigate the law in action. The comparative approach has been utilised to identify the best AML practices and solutions to the problems these jurisdictions face. This thesis has revealed that whilst an AML regime may be effective in tackling particular predicate crimes (e.g., conventional offences), it may show deficiencies in countering others with more sophisticated elements (e.g., tax crimes). Therefore, jurisdictions, including Turkey, need to consider the unique features of each predicate crime in designing their national AML structures to adopt an optimum AML structure. This thesis has concluded that an optimum AML regime entails, amongst others, uncomplicated national legal instruments that are fit for their purposes and in harmony with the international AML legal framework. It also requires a dedicated/specialised institutional AML armada and a robust communication/cooperation network established between all competent AML authorities nationally and internationally. An effective AML regime also requires the active participation of the private sector stakeholders.
    Date of AwardFeb 2023
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorUmut Turksen (Supervisor) & Adam Abukari (Supervisor)

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