There are untold numbers of money laundering schemes involving legitimate businesses. Legal businesses, especially those involved in trade based transactions, have played a much bigger role in the cleaning of illicit funds than most people realize.
Money laundering is a process that begins with “placement,” usually involves layering and often winds up including the integration of funds into the “legitimate” economy. Sophisticated money laundering is carried out typically by a loose-knit group of people with varying resources. It is multifaceted and more complex than an otherwise two-dimensional approach carried out by just one method. It’s not typical that one person or resource can, in any sustained manner, entirely complete the money laundering process without detection. Legitimate businesses may participate with banks (wittingly or unwittingly) to complete a series of transactions to launder illicit funds.