Overview

hawala


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An underground banking system based on trust which enables money to be made available internationally without the physical transfer of funds. In its most basic variant, the transferor lodges a sum of money with a hawala broker (known as a hawaladar) who then contacts another broker in the recipient's location with instructions for the disposition of the funds (less a small commission), promising to settle the debt at a later date. The unique feature of the system is that no promissory instruments are exchanged between the hawala brokers and no records are produced of individual transactions; only a running tally of the amount owed one broker by the other is kept. Settlements of debts between hawala brokers can take a variety of forms, and need not take the form of direct cash transactions. The system is extensively used by terrorists to fund operations and by organized criminal groups to launder the proceeds of crime.

Subjects: Law.


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