As more media companies realize Russia bought advertising space or promoted news stories — fake and otherwise — on their platforms, covert influence has become the new money laundering.
Both activities hide below the surface of legitimate enterprises, cast a shadow of disrepute on those very enterprises and can be neutralized through transparency and accountability.
In the 20th century, the rise of organized criminal enterprises, like the Mafia and drug-smuggling cartels, led law enforcement officers and prosecutors to realize that investigating each murder, each coercion of a legitimate business and each drug shipment was an untenable and unsustainable investigative approach.
Government officials could not succeed against highly organized and sophisticated criminal activities simply by investigating and prosecuting each individual offense.
Anti-money laundering laws have been successful in preventing criminals and terrorists from paying for goods and services with ease in the financial markets.
Under these laws, nefarious actors have been relegated to using cash — which is significantly more cumbersome to transfer — or they risk leaving financial paper trails that can be presented to courtroom juries.