What should a lawyer do when a prospective client asks for help in secretly transferring large sums of money that appear to be proceeds of foreign government corruption? Some lawyers caught on tapes made secretly by the human rights organization Global Witness and broadcast on “60 Minutes” last week gave a disturbing answer. They volunteered strategies to disguise the ownership of assets in international transfers or locate banks and countries with lax controls.

Sixteen lawyers heard a story indicating that the client received the money as bribes for mineral concessions. Only two clearly refused the assignment. Most failed to insist on knowing key facts relevant to whether the assignment would violate the U.S. anti-money laundering statute, including even the identity of the client and his country.

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