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Dirty Money

Author: Oliver Bullough

Affiliation: Foreign Affairs

Organization /Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: January/February 2020, U.S.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2300

Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2019-12-10/dirty-money

Keywords: Corruption, CPI, Bribery

Brief:

In this article, the author discusses the important but rarely highlighted issue of corruption in the world,  arguing that its relation to money and doing so much damage to so many people should clearly become a public policy priority as well as a focus of detailed research. The author refers to the most important attempts made by some academics and researchers like the Camdessus report, but that it is not enough as no reliable data exist to measure how widespread corruption is, which prevents systematic action against bad actors. He also highlights misleading research. The author argues that corruption is an integrated process that is not limited to the act of bribery. An entire support mechanism for modern corruption is provided by, among others,  bankers in London and Zurich who accept dirty money,  lawyers in New York who channel that money into real estate, and officials in offshore tax havens who disguise its ownership behind shell companies. Because of corruption’s impact, it is something that must be fully investigated. In addition, measuring fraud should cover not only the aspects of corruption that take place in poorer countries but also those that help boost the economies of  wealthy Western countries. A true measure of corruption would give at least as much weight to the willingness of a jurisdiction to launder dirty money. The author argues that everyone who writes about corruption finds it easier to diagnose the disease than to prescribe a treatment. This results partly from the lack of knowledge about the precise dimensions of corruption and reflects just how stubborn the problem is.

By: Taqwa Nedal, CIGA Research Assistant

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