Legal criminality. For those that can afford it & are immoral enough to indulge, a secondary legal structure, carefully cultivated over decades, that renders the “commercial criminals” immune, or facilitates direct/verbatim/standard criminality to excel in secrecy via the assistance of “commercial criminality” from the likes of The City, Luxembourg, British Common Wealth destinations, Nevada etcetera. This book resides, very comfortably, among the top escarpment of first-class, exigent & authoritative reportage on the scourge of this contemporary corruption that is literally laying siege to our world.
Money laundering, tax havens, shell companies, trusts & the ongoing adulteration & infestation of politics & democracy by dirty/dark money, oligarchy & organized crime. Profits from organized crime, kleptocracy, terrorism, white-collar crime, major financial fraud & scams, & just about anything else illicit/illegal you can conceive, can all be washed & stowed in secrecy, not through Kalingrad or North Korea – but through London, New York, Nevada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore et al. Despite the glaringly obvious, it is considered only “ethically unsound”,but remains legal in practice & application. As the trade is “offshore” & therefore transnational, & not attributed to a particular country or jurisdiction, It can frequently surpass or evade regional requirements by law enforcement organizations as well as exploiting the fantastical opacity, confidentiality & covert advantage when, – & that is very much when, – it is ever detected & attributed to an actual person, rather than a series of “companies” under the aegis of a ‘legitimate’ business/accounting/financial firm.
A system of pure villainous, plutocratic klepto-kafka – “one rule for the rich – another for everything else. Financial terrorism & mega criminality in everything but name.
Whilst the world is legally looted by a malignant parasite class of super criminals using official & ‘legitimate’ mechanisms – author Oliver Bullough has decided to do something about it, stoked by tremendous aplomb, diligence & drive. Bullough wrote the astounding “Let Our Fame be Great”, a whopper that expanded dramatically on the Chechen war with Russia & the regions extraordinary history in general. It unearthed stupendously curious information, totally new revelations & was exceptionally well written.
Here we go again, with one of the most urgent & deleterious threats to our ravaged planet – legal money laundering – & its associated accoutrements & subculture.
The book is unsurprisingly, absolutely blinding. A clean, empirical KO that also happens to be a brilliant read in & of itself.
It’s extensivity is gargantuan, comprised of so many interconnecting forays into the results, providers, individuals, mannerisms, defences & variegations on this dangerous, deeply destabilizing venal virulence.
Concerning awareness, disclosure & detailed assessment – I struggle to think of another single book that documents so insightfully, at scale, the looming disaster & ongoing catastrophe of this turbo corruption & distinguished criminal enterprise.
In terms of measuring peril proportionately, offshoring etc could be mistaken as an absurdly venal appendage to larger/more serious criminality.
That would be a very fatal error.
Moneyland allows, expands, empowers, ‘protects’ & even glosses over it’s ‘raw’-criminal counterpart. It also becomes a driver for such criminality because it makes it possible, legitimate, outlandishly lucrative, & acts as a primary, almost magic enabler.
It is almost like a parallel reality that the heavily affluent can buy-into.
Whole countries are ransacked, stripped & scoured by internal corruptocrats, inflicting tremendous impoverishment, with the proceeds transferred out the country & into the secret vaults to be feasted upon once the rats vacate the sinking ship & leave their submerged countries destitute, dysfunctional, corrupted & forlorn to vulture fallout (organized crime, terrorism & radicalization, prostitution & poor health & poverty related afflictions).
‘If Americans ask the Brits which Americans have accounts here in England, the Brits will give them information. If they ask the Germans, same thing. If the Germans ask the Americans, however, the Americans say, “buzz off.” are you kidding me? This is the biggest hypocrisy on the planet. It’s a big problem, and they’re part of it.”
Developed, rich, first-world countries such as the US & especially UK (you may recall Conservative chancellor Philip Hammond threatening to turn Britain into even more of a “tax haven” should he & his criminal party not be granted the kind of exit deal they desired concerning the countries exit from the EU) have devised, nurtured, revolutionized, marketed & practically ‘normalised’ this obscene, pernicious malfeasance. They continue to be the vendor, conductor & primary culprit, washing the blood, misery, suffering, contamination, loss, waste, theft & disaster from these ‘ill gotten gains’ at the expense of the 99%.
when crime becomes a business manoeuvre. & thus ‘pro business’ becomes pro crime. A convenient euphemism & a dramatic escalation of the “greed is good” lexicon.
The Panama Papers, the Lux Leaks the crash of 2008 – the results are practically zero as these are committed criminals using the official political system & its elected personnel to escape justice & enrich their criminal brethren. “we’re all in this together.”
this book is invaluable in its scrutiny of this major menace. Sheer brilliance.
“Similarly, after the Brexit referendum, the UK government’s agenda to open up the offshore world to fight both tax dodging and corruption almost entirely halted. ‘the anti-corruption phone just stopped ringing,‘ said Jon Benton, and ex-police officer who worked for the cabinet Office as a senior adviser.”
Oliver Bullough, 2018, Profile Books, 297 pages.