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

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A remarkable debut by one of America's premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel's American Kleptocracy offers the first 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 kleptocr A remarkable debut by one of America's premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel's American Kleptocracy offers the first 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, and potentially more, in illicit finance tied directly to corrupt regimes, extremist networks, and the worst the world has to offer. But it hasn’t been the sleepy, 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 from modern offshoring 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 United States of America. From anonymous shell companies and legal inventions like “perpetual trusts” to public relations and lobbying shops willing to do anything they can to camouflage the source of the dirty money, the United States’ transformation into the center of global offshoring is complete. And while Donald Trump presented, in many ways, the ultimate culmination of the U.S.’s descent, the country’s trajectory has been decades in the making. American Kleptocracy will examine 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. It will also look at how Trump’s presidency accelerated all of the trends already on hand—and how the Biden administration can, and should, act on this inheritance.


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A remarkable debut by one of America's premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel's American Kleptocracy offers the first 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 kleptocr A remarkable debut by one of America's premier young reporters on financial corruption, Casey Michel's American Kleptocracy offers the first 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, and potentially more, in illicit finance tied directly to corrupt regimes, extremist networks, and the worst the world has to offer. But it hasn’t been the sleepy, 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 from modern offshoring 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 United States of America. From anonymous shell companies and legal inventions like “perpetual trusts” to public relations and lobbying shops willing to do anything they can to camouflage the source of the dirty money, the United States’ transformation into the center of global offshoring is complete. And while Donald Trump presented, in many ways, the ultimate culmination of the U.S.’s descent, the country’s trajectory has been decades in the making. American Kleptocracy will examine 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. It will also look at how Trump’s presidency accelerated all of the trends already on hand—and how the Biden administration can, and should, act on this inheritance.

38 review for American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Hudock

    This book details how extremely rich oligarchs from Africa, eastern Europe, or the middle east, often launder their ill-gotten gains through American institutions. Anyone familiar with TV series such as Ozark or Billions will be familiar with such schemes. Unfortunately these are not fiction, but are all too true. The book also details some of the laws that have been put into place to help combat this money laundering, usually without a lot of success. Towards the last part of the book, the auth This book details how extremely rich oligarchs from Africa, eastern Europe, or the middle east, often launder their ill-gotten gains through American institutions. Anyone familiar with TV series such as Ozark or Billions will be familiar with such schemes. Unfortunately these are not fiction, but are all too true. The book also details some of the laws that have been put into place to help combat this money laundering, usually without a lot of success. Towards the last part of the book, the author details real estate activities of Donald Trump and characterizes him as similar to the other individuals described in this book. I am not sure about whether all of this is true or not, but the author takes some of his credibility away by lauding the Obama regime and talking about the "wonderful" changes that will be occurring under now-President Biden. Unfortunately the fact that Joe Biden is compromised with Russia, China and the Ukraine because of the dealings of his son Hunter is ignored. This book identifies a real problem, but the solutions the author proposes are not realistic . I received a complementary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hassel

    American Kleptocracy by Casey Michel is an interesting and timely book describing who and how money is moved about globally. What is frustrating and disturbing to learn is although most of the money is not stolen in the US, much of it is transferred into the US where it goes from dirty to clean money legally! Mr. Michel is an Adjunct Fellow for the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, and has contributed research pertaining to offshoring, illicit finance, and foreign interference to the Ge American Kleptocracy by Casey Michel is an interesting and timely book describing who and how money is moved about globally. What is frustrating and disturbing to learn is although most of the money is not stolen in the US, much of it is transferred into the US where it goes from dirty to clean money legally! Mr. Michel is an Adjunct Fellow 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, as well as others. The money flows into the US with the assistance of US lawyers and set up in shell companies mainly in Delaware, South Dakota and Nevada, three states that have made it possible to set up an Anonymous Shell Company in less than one hour. Some of the people described with vast sums of stolen money meaning over 1 billion dollars are from Equatorial Guinea and Ukraine. In the case of Teodore Obiang now VP of Equatorial Guinea who among ways to “wash” his money bought up all the Michael Jackson items including the famous glove. In this case the harm is mainly to the people of Equatorial Guinea who have lost much of the revenue that could be used to make the country more livable. In the case of Ukraine, the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky not only ransacked the Ukraine economy he and his cohorts purchase steel mills and office buildings in middle America which they ran into the ground but as Michel explains the money is now free and beyond the grasp of Ukraine while at the same time causing massive financial pain to hard working middle class Americans. So the key point is it does impact the US and at this point we do not know how large this problem may be since all the money and who it belongs to is still hidden. I believe this is an excellent book to begin to understand this issue and problem for America. It is well written without technical jargon and will make you a bit more informed about an important issue for America.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Britt

    This book provides insight in to some of the systems that enable financial corruption and money laundering in the US. It provides an excellent analysis of how shell corporations came to be and how they continue to be used today. Much of the information was new to me and some a bit shocking. The author did a great job of providing sources and evidence in the notes section for those that want to do their own digging. The author does exhibit some bias and passion throughout the book but for me pers This book provides insight in to some of the systems that enable financial corruption and money laundering in the US. It provides an excellent analysis of how shell corporations came to be and how they continue to be used today. Much of the information was new to me and some a bit shocking. The author did a great job of providing sources and evidence in the notes section for those that want to do their own digging. The author does exhibit some bias and passion throughout the book but for me personally this didn’t detract from the overall message and information.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pronoy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Johnson Jr MBA

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  7. 4 out of 5

    Harleen Bajwa

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tevvy

  10. 4 out of 5

    THOMAS A

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alarice Hansberry

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Eisshofer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randy

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    Keith Kolmos

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cristobal

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marco Aurélio Nascimento Jr.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Hill

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian Fraile

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cguthrie00

  25. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debra Hasson

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    Eamon McGoldrick

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    Dan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew White

  31. 4 out of 5

    Lily Travis

  32. 4 out of 5

    Yi K

  33. 5 out of 5

    Justin Baldwin

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    Michael Stelmark

  35. 5 out of 5

    MSHP

  36. 4 out of 5

    H. Weisel

  37. 4 out of 5

    Katie Knorr

  38. 4 out of 5

    Sam Schwartz

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