Thursday Night Owls: FinCEN files show how ineffective our supposed financial watchdogs are
Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week
At The Guardian, Tom Burgis writes—What $2 trillion in possible corrupt activity reveals about Kleptopia:
[...] This week we’ve caught a fresh glimpse of Kleptopia. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the FinCEN files, details of more than 2,000 leaked suspicious activity reports that banks had filed to the US Treasury. They show that, even when bankers have doubts about the provenance of their clients’ money, the financial secrecy system goes on serving its primary purpose. That purpose is not simply to accentuate the concentration of wealth, to abet corruption, or to shift the proceeds of crime, important though all those functions are. No, it is to accelerate a project that had been gathering momentum since the end of the cold war: the privatisation of power itself.
Back when it became clear that the Soviet Union was unravelling, its rulers hastily squirreled as much of the empire’s wealth abroad as they could. Their counterparts in other places where power is easily converted into money—chiefly those cursed with large quantities of oil or minerals—did likewise. Globalisation was moving forward apace and, like Starbucks, migration and viruses, dirty money went global. An international kleptocracy began to take shape, financial secrecy its catalyst.