How Corruption Drives Inequality

The Paradise Papers, and the Panama Papers before, have laid bare the financial secrecy that permits large-scale proceeds of corruption, tax avoidance, and criminal activity to be laundered, shifted around the globe, and stored out of view from authorities. The Azerbaijani Laundromat, a scheme exposed in September 2017 involving UK-registered shell companies, shined more light on how those at the top can use financial secrecy to launder vast sums through the global financial system and further widen the gap between “elites” and the rest of society.

Transparency International (TI), a global nongovernmental organization against corruption, cites several additional cases where UK companies and properties have been used to process and store the proceeds of money laundering and grand corruption. Hampstead mansions, luxury yachts, and fine art are monuments to lost funding for healthcare, education, or infrastructure. In other cases, corruption has diverted revenues towards corporate profits.

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