Please join us for a discussion with Casey Michel (MARS-REERS ’15), author of American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History (St. Martin’s Press, November 2021). Moderated by Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute.
A remarkable debut by one of America’s premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel’s American Kleptocracy offers an explosive investigation into how the United States of America built the largest illicit offshore finance system the world has ever known.
An indefatigable young American journalist who has virtually cornered the international kleptocracy beat on the US end of the black aquifer.
—The Los Angeles Review of Books
For years, one country has acted as the greatest offshore haven in the world, attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in illicit finance tied directly to corrupt regimes, extremist networks, and the worst the world has to offer. But it hasn’t been the sand-splattered Caribbean islands, or even traditional financial secrecy havens like Switzerland or Panama, that have come to dominate the offshoring world. Instead, the country profiting the most also happens to be the one that still claims to be the moral leader of the free world, and the one that claims to be leading the fight against the crooked and the corrupt: the USA.
American Kleptocracy examines just how the United States’ implosion into a center of global offshoring took place: how states like Delaware and Nevada perfected the art of the anonymous shell company, and how post-9/11 reformers watched their success usher in a new flood of illicit finance directly into the U.S.; how African despots and post-Soviet oligarchs came to dominate American coastlines, American industries, and entire cities and small towns across the American Midwest; how Nazi-era lobbyists birthed an entire industry of spin-men whitewashing trans-national crooks and despots, and how dirty money has now begun infiltrating America’s universities and think tanks and cultural centers; and how those on the front-line are trying to restore America’s legacy of anti-corruption leadership—and finally end this reign of American kleptocracy.
Casey Michel is a writer and journalist based in New York City. His writings on offshoring, kleptocracy, and financial secrecy have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vox, The New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, among others. He is a member of the advisory council for the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, and has contributed research pertaining to offshoring, illicit finance, and foreign interference to the German Marshall Fund, the Human Rights Foundation, and others. He received his Master’s degree in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Kazakhstan. American Kleptocracy is his first book.
Photo Credit: Versha Sharma