Kleptocracy not only a problem of ‘faraway, nasty countries’


PANAMApapers2A sorry parade of arms smugglers, oligarchs, defense contractors, mafia dons, drug dealers, gambling fraudsters, sanctions breakers, and kleptocrats emerge from the Panama Papers, journalist Alan Rusbridger writes for The New York Review of Books:

Interesting as the individual characters are….. the mechanisms of how money that should be taxed is instead routinely kept offshore are just as gripping. [Investigative journalist Luke] Harding was fascinated by the pristine respectability of the London offshore enablers: “I think the kind of big reveal for me was the role played by the West, and law firms, and banks, and so on,” he told an Oxford seminar. “It’s easy to think kleptocracy is a problem of faraway, nasty countries, about which we don’t want to inquire too deeply, but it turned out that we’re the biggest crooks of all, actually, in that we facilitate this.” His “we” refers to the British…… RTWT

In kleptocracies, the instruments of the state are directed to shielding and enabling the corrupt activities of dominant power holders, said Carl GershmanPresident of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance NGO. Corruption is the lifeblood of these systems, like the one in present day Russia, and the glue for regime survival, he told a recent hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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