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LMC 2019

Do Not Trade Your Principles: Kleptocracy and Money Laundering

Globalisation has a dark side, shaking the foundations of democratic statehood and security. Kleptocracy is not only a problem for countries which have had their riches stolen, such as Ukraine and Russia, but also for the UK, the US and Switzerland. It affects developed democracies where, with the help of banking systems, taxation rules and loopholes, dirty money is transformed into yachts, real estate and luxury goods. It undermines the rule of law, perceptions of justice, democratic values and even politics – for example, Brexit or Paul Manafort’s role in the US presidential campaign. In the era of the global market, is everything-citizenship, passports, values, and principles – for sale? What is the role of international banking in money laundering without borders and in the accumulation by the few of massive, but invisible riches? Can the spiralling concentration of capital in the hands of a clan of the super-rich, immune to laws, limits, state borders and regulations, be stopped? What are the implications of dirty money entering Western democracies and what can West do to confront this problem? Is the dark side of globalisation inevitable, or do we have means to fight back?


Dr Anders Åslund portrait
Anders Åslund

Resident Senior Fellow in the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council

Marshall Billingslea

Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute

Oliver Bullough

Journalist and author, UK

Ardo Hansson

Governor of Eesti Pank, Estonia


Molly Montgomery

Vice President, Europe Practice, Albright Stonebridge Group, USA

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