Skip to main content
(Alex Williamson/Getty Images)

The Kleptocracy Curse: Rethinking Containment

Ben Judah

The United States needs to start paying attention to what has happened to the world economy. Gigantic sums of money are now traveling the world incognito. This has turned globalization into the golden age of money laundering. Nestling in Western economies are offshore financial structures (and their professional enablers) which allow funds to instantaneously and anonymously jump between countries, empowering authoritarians and corrupting Western institutions. This now presents a growing national security threat.

Across the world, money laundering on an epidemic scale is undermining American foreign policy: crippling development, threatening democracy, damaging Western soft power and fueling state collapse. Across the West, this staggering flow of illicit funds has turned authoritarian kleptocrats into powerful players increasingly able to wield power inside Western institutions and game them to their own ends. There is only one way to block the illicit flows that empower kleptocrats and undermine democracy: Ending anonymous shell companies must become a national security priority for the U.S.

View PDF

Related Articles

Money Laundering for 21st Century Authoritarianism

Ben Judah & Belinda Li

With this report, our lens switches from foreign to domestic policy...

View PDF

One Hundred Years of Hell

Arthur Herman

A century ago today, Vladimir Lenin unleashed the deadliest political system in human history on the Russian people...

Continue Reading

100 Years of Communism—and 100 Million Dead

David Satter

The Bolshevik plague that began in Russia was the greatest catastrophe in human history...

Continue Reading