American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History

St. Martin’s. Nov. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781250274526. $29.99. BUS
Michel (Hudson Inst. Kleptocracy Initiative), who reports on illicit activities in finance for publications like Foreign Affairs and the Atlantic, is a masterful storyteller who grips readers with truthful and disturbing accounts of outlandish schemes. In this book, he argues that the United States is a global haven for illicit money laundering schemes that are infiltrating industries like real estate, finance, and luxury goods; wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and national security; and creating opportunities for terrorist networks to gain footholds. This eye-opening and comprehensive analysis explains how global criminals anonymously hide ill-gotten money all over the United States and then clean and legitimize these funds. Often these individuals are able to set up shell companies with little regulatory oversight and then secretly engage in corrupt activities. Michel suggests reforms, including making business operations transparent by establishing a federal registry of businesses.
VERDICT Recommended for general readers who want to understand how kleptocracy is rooted in American politics and policy-making.
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