Commodity trading is the latest avenue for terrorists and narcotics traffickers to launder large amounts of money, the Wall Street Journal reports. Basic foodstuffs, like sugar, flour and oil, are legitimately bought on the market and transferred to trade-restricted Iran or Palestine in the guise of legal aid. There they're sold, and proceeds find their way to terror groups.
Experts say it's difficult to estimate the extent of "trade-based money laundering," but that “the vulnerability is gigantic.” Sometimes illegal trades are combined with legitimate ones. The Journal allows that many suppliers are unwitting accomplices: Before hanging up the phone, one British farmer said, "It is a mess, isn't it?"