Hawala money transfer system: Should law enforcement agencies pay more attention?


A few weeks ago, the hawala money transfer system made headlines in South Africa when the Daily Maverick published an article entitled “#MotiFiles: Inside VBS’s R1.3 bn gold-fuelled ‘hawala'”. This was not the first time that the hawala system made the headlines for the wrong reasons. In 2020, warnings were issued that this ancient payment system poses modern risks, while the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published a research report in 2023 warning about its operations and misuse by opiate traffickers and migrant smugglers.

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