Morris-Cotterill wrote "How Not To Be A Money Launderer in 1996 and a second (1988) edition was published in early 1999. Both sold out their entire print runs within a matter of months, selling all over the world.
In 1996, the publishers approached Amazon.Com with regard to a possible listing but the then fledgeling internet bookseller elected not to stock the book. It was therefore never supplied to Amazon.Com by the publisher.
But in or about 2005, the book appeared in Amazon.Com's listings. At or about the same time, a person using a false name and a fictitious description of himself, posted at Amazon.Com a scurrilous and demeaning attack on Morris-Cotterill, referring to the book only peripherally.
Despite repeated requests, Amazon.Com has refused to remove the posting saying that its policy is to allow the publication under false names of honest reviews. Morris-Cotterill posted a rebuttal on the US website but it is given no prominence, appearing only as a "comment" link. Therefore the libel is given undue and unfair prominence and its effect is magnified by the actions of Amazon.Com.
Amazon.Com lists the title from a number of sellers who claim to be marketing the book at prices that are, in Morris-Cotterill's view, outrageous. However, it is by no means certain that these sellers do in fact have any copies of the book. One is, today, trying to sell a copy for USD580.
However, the book was reprinted, by an Amazon.Com subsidiary, in 2011 and retails for a cost of USD19.99. Further, it was made available for Amazon.Com's Kindle and Kindle Reader platforms, also in 2011, where it retails for USD9.99.
In recent weeks, there has been a new policy amongst Amazon.Com group companies of posting reviews under which reviews are carried from the US site. However, in particular in the UK, the company has failed to post the rebuttal. Morris-Cotterill has, in correspondence, pointed out to Amazon.Co.UK that as a publisher of the libel it is liable for it. Amazon.Co.UK has simply repeated the comments of its parent, despite the very substantial differences between UK and US libel law.
In the absence of any form of co-operation from Amazon.Com or its subsidiaries to remove this damaging and hurtful libel, and the failure of Amazon.Co.UK to carry the rebuttal, Morris-Cotterill has today issued a new product description which is being posted to all Amazon.Com sites as they update their product listings.
The new description makes it plain that How Not To Be A Money Launderer was a ground-breaking work, introducing many of the concepts that have been developed by international bodies and financial regulators since they were described in the book.
Morris-Cotterill will continue to press Amazon.Com and its subsidiaries to remove the libel from their websites although it appears that they have no desire to do so, even in the face of threats of litigation.
The libel is damaging to the reputation of the author both in relation to his written works and in relation to his business as a specialist in his field of counter-money laundering. It also harms the sales of the book.
The new product description is below
Before regulators and the FATF cared about hawala, Morris-Cotterill highlighted its risks; before anyone coined the buzzword "trade-based laundering,"
That is just a small selection of the things that first appeared in the book but have since become recognised as norms or standards.
Morris-Cotterill wrote the book for a general business readership, not just lawyers and high-level staff in financial institutions:
How Not To Be A Money Launderer was a ground-breaking book that has had an extraordinary influence on the development of counter-money laundering laws. And will continue to do so as the risks and approaches developed in it continue to be adopted.
Links to the book can be found at http://www.countermoneylaundering.com
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The Anti Money Laundering Network has provided consultancy, training and publications worldwide since 1994. Global Response centre is in Malaysia. Operating companies in the UK, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Group holding company: Hong Kong.