Last week while editing an academic text, my hawkish eyes fell upon the phrase money laundry. The esteemed professor had made a typographical error. I smiled quietly to myself as images of ‘money laundry’ flooded my imagination.
I could see $100 notes hanging over the drying rack and piles of the green stuff floating in sudsy water. Just imagine if money could be cleaned. To take the metaphor further, what if you got a stamp every time you used a bank note but retained the note and after 10 stamps you could just wash the ‘dirty’ money and use it all over again. Money Laundry.
Money laundering, however, is an entirely different matter and there is too much of it going around. Political manipulation – need I say Zondo again? – seems an obvious breeding ground for money laundering as do many private companies that have grown exponentially and very quickly without making a credible business case.
Money laundering, according to Wikipedia, is the “process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. One problem of criminal activities is accounting for the proceeds without raising the suspicion of law enforcement agencies.” (In other words, how good are the crooks at getting away with it?).
Usually very good. And these scams perpetuate for years and years until some whistle-blower has their conscience pricked enough to want to spill the beans. Then he and everyone else in the chain must confess their money laundering sins.
How much cleaner the world would be morally if we could do the money laundry instead of spending thousands of tax dollars on going after the money launderers to hang them out to dry.
Some other money idioms
- Put one’s money where one’s mouth is
- Pour money down the drain
- A fool and his money are soon parted
- Get a run for one’s money