The issue of money laundering as a social problem of international character appeared in the late '80s - more exactly with the Vienna Convention in 1988 - and was quickly inserted in various international instruments that required its criminalization. The initial push was motivated by the consequences of the profits of drug trafficking.
In the 1990s there is the tendency to use this approach to preventing and combating organized crime and particularly its association with corruption - political, judicial police - in short, Official, to facilitate crime and, in general, against all crime that generates profits. The 40 recommendations is the document-reference on preventing and combating money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force - or Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) - written in 1990, were reviewed in 1996.
In 2000, twelve major international private banks create the The Wolfsberg Group, dedicated to developing best practices in financial services, especially emphasizing policies to meet the customer (Know Your Customer or KYC) and develop actions to prevent and combat money laundering and international terrorism.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, is being seriously considered the related question of financing terrorism