We are living in the golden age of fraud.
But we’re also in a golden age for data leaks.
In the last six years we’ve seen a cascade of confidential information from places like Panama, Switzerland and Dubai—countries where lawyers, accountants and bankers promise secrecy while serving the rich and powerful.
The tens of millions of leaked documents have helped shine light on the financial affairs of the wealthy and well-connected. But they’ve also opened the ill-gotten gains of many corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to public view.
For every money movement through a tax haven, there’s a digital record that can be traced by a growing army of citizen journalists and activists.
In the latest New Money Review podcast I’m joined by someone who’s helped organise that activist army and tell some of their data-driven stories.
Paul Radu is an investigative journalist and co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
Paul is a winner of the Daniel Pearl Award, the Global Shining Light Award, the European Press Prize, and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He was also part of the Panama Papers team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.
The amounts being looted are increasing exponentially
When oligarchs, corrupt politicians or criminals seek to move their money out of the public eye, the OCCRP is there to shed light on what they are doing.
This is a global and a growing problem. The amounts being looted are increasing exponentially, reaching trillions a year. The money launderers are becoming ever more sophisticated in hiding what they are doing. There’s a global network of bankers, accountants, lawyers and PR agents supporting them. And in many countries, the oligarchs and criminals are effectively above the law.
This is a topic we should all know something about.
Listen in for a fascinating discussion of large-scale financial crime, including:
- Why transnational organised crime groups are now more powerful than states
- How investigative reporting can combat their influence
- Why criminal money flows often follow a pattern
- How the OCCRP discovered the ‘laundromats’ that service multiple criminal groups
- Why banks didn’t notice the problem at the outset
- Why criminals are some of the cleverest entrepreneurs
- How money launderers exploit geopolitical rifts
- Why some countries with low corruption scores are enablers of financial crime
- How open-access real estate and property registries can combat money laundering
- Criminals’ Achilles heel—where to place their stolen money
- The Russia/Ukraine war and political grand corruption
- Coping with the enormous scale of leaked data
- Staying current with ‘follow-the-money’ techniques
- How a new generation of citizen investigative journalists can help
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